“Semifinal Night in December is the greatest day of the year here on campus,” said Assistant Athletic Director Marshall Newman as he described a longstanding tradition of service at MICDS — just one of the many ways the School is engaged in the community and beyond.
On Semifinal Night, the bleachers of McDonnell Gymnasium were packed to the brim. The crowd represented a diverse amalgam of parents and students from both MICDS and other area schools whose basketball teams made it to the semifinal matches of MICDS’ hosted holiday tournament — the largest one in St. Louis. As Newman described why it’s “the best night of the year,” he wasn’t referring to the competition. He was referring to the cause.
“This is our 17th year donating every single dime of our proceeds from the tournament to Special Olympics Missouri. And every year, between the two semifinal matches, players from West County Special Olympics play a 15-minute exhibition game,” he said.
Athletes from all four semifinal teams lined the court’s perimeter while young, talented players who live with varying disabilities hustled for the ball. Meanwhile, the MICDS cheerleaders shuffled through the bleachers collecting donations for Special Olympics Missouri. Without a doubt, at the end of each year’s exhibition game, student-athletes from all four of the semifinal teams rush the court, giving high fives and hugs to the exhibition players.
Photo credit: Mike Schoen