Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Emma Donnelly

#50for50: Volume 9
▪️ Emma Donnelly
▪️ Kensington High School
▪️ Philadelphia County

“My parents are both from Northern Ireland. I’m considered Irish-American. I don’t know if you can hear the accent a little bit. Some people can hear it. I went to Ireland last summer and it was fun. It’s a pretty good lifestyle, but it gets a little boring after while. You know what? It gets cold there. And it’s not like here. Here is very, very, very good and I don’t want to live in Ireland. I want to stay right where I am in Fishtown and not move anywhere else. I like to walk with my dog and see my friends. I go by some of their houses and say ‘Hey, how are you?’ and they say ‘Hi’ back to me. … I’m loving the Special Olympics. It’s kind of competitive with all the other schools, but it’s pretty fun to get to congratulate all the other teams and talk to them and things like that. It’s my second year doing bocce. Our coach, Mr. [Brandon] Hirsch, he’s really into the game with us and really shows respect for us. He really loves us and really loves our team. It’s really, really fun and competitive and I love the experience. You feel regular playing bocce. I’m autism and I feel normal. I like to talk to everybody and they talk back to me and play jokes on me. It’s the best feeling for me. … I’m thinking about doing Project SEARCH at Drexel University. It’s for people on the autism spectrum. I’m going to do an interview in March and if I do well on it, I’ll get accepted there and maybe get a job. … I want to do public speaking. I spoke at the Opening Ceremony today. It was pretty good and I wasn’t nervous at all. I also speak at church. I read there, not every Sunday but some Sundays. The news was here [at the Unified Bocce Championships] today I did want to be on TV and say some things. But, you know what? It’s all good. Maybe next time.”

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Special Olympics Pennsylvania

The mission of Special Olympics Pennsylvania is to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.

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