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Kevin Roundtree-Truly an inspiration

Kevin Roundtree

Kevin Roundtree

Kevin Roundtree-Truly an inspiration

Black Children with Special Needs/Stigma

By Yvette N. Harris

The youngest of six brothers Kevin Roundtree, Jr. was always known as  “Little K”.  Now that he is 21, a senior at Southridge High School, and a star Special Olympics athlete, his nickname is “Special K”.

The nickname fits Kevin like a glove.  He is special. Though intellectually disabled – reading and writing at elementary school levels – Kevin has won the hearts and respect of everyone who comes in contact with him with his warm, outgoing personality, tireless work ethic and leadership and talent on the Special Olympics athletic courts and fields.

Kevin, who lost both of his parents at a young age and has been raised by his aunt, Virginia Dassaw, always seems to go out of his way for others, whether it’s at school or in sports.

For example, Kevin walks to school at 6:30 in the morning where he works in the school cafeteria. He wants to get there early.  Kevin takes his job seriously and does it with the expertise of a seasoned restaurant owner.

He has learned the favorite breakfast of each teacher and other staff members and prepares and serves the food and beverages just the way each person likes it.  They don’t even have to order.

Whether it’s the type of croissant, the blend of coffee or the type of cookie, he serves everyone with a smile. If someone is sick, he takes it upon himself to brew tea for them.

“He’s amazing. I would hire him if I could or clone him.  He works hard at everything he does and is humble,” says Southridge Principal  Bianca Calzadilla.  “You won’t find anyone who will say a negative thing about him,” added, Marcy Pena, a teacher at Southridge and a Special Olympics coach, “He’s the best. He is reliable. I would trust him with my life.”

On the athletic field, Kevin was recently named Special Olympics Athlete of the Year.  Most recently, he led the softball  and soccer teams to Gold Medals  for the second year in a row at the State Games at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando. In soccer, he has scored six goals in the last two State tournaments. He has also won the individual state BOCCI Championship and the Individual Skills Competition in basketball.

Perhaps the person who has become closest with Kevin is his teacher and Special Olympics coach, Jodi English. English has been a Special Olympics coach for eight years and Kevin’s for the last five. “Kevin is the best player on all the teams.  He is our MVP, a natural leader. He gives 150 percent on the field and in the classroom and never complains,” said English. “ Soccer is his favorite sport. He won’t come out of a game no matter what. Two years ago we had to cart him off the field vomiting.

“Kevin is very well-liked on the teams. He’s a role model. Our teams are co-ed and sometimes we play against all-boy teams. Sometimes these teams get a little too rough with our girls, but Kevin is always there to protect them. He’s the peacemaker, a real gentleman.”

This doesn’t surprise Kevin’s aunt, Virginia Dassaw. “Kevin has always been a sweet kid,” she said. “He loves Special Olympics, especially soccer. He has made a lot of friends there.”     English added, “Special Olympics has provided him with confidence, self-esteem and self-worth.  Taking the kids out of town to events contributes to this.”

Kevin’s aunt agrees, but adds, “Even when he goes out of town with Special Olympics, he calls me from the road, when he gets to the hotel and after every game.”  No surprise. Kevin  Roundtree, Jr. always thinks and cares about others than himself.  He is “Special K.”

Soccer is his favorite sport. He won’t come out of a game no matter what. Two years ago we had to cart him off the field vomiting.

“Kevin is very well-liked on the teams. He’s a role model. Our teams are co-ed and sometimes we play against all-boy teams. Sometimes these teams get a little too rough with our girls, but Kevin is always there to protect them. He’s the peacemaker, a real gentleman.”

This doesn’t surprise Kevin’s aunt, Virginia Dassaw. “Kevin has always been a sweet kid,” she said. “He loves Special Olympics, especially soccer. He has made a lot of friends there.”     English added, “Special Olympics has provided him with confidence, self-esteem and self-worth.  Taking the kids out of town to events contributes to this.”

Kevin’s aunt agrees, but adds, “Even when he goes out of town with Special Olympics, he calls me from the road, when he gets to the hotel and after every game.”  No surprise. Kevin Roundtree, Jr. always thinks and cares about others than himself.  He is “Special K.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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    About The Author

    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

    Number of Entries : 4589

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