The gym was packed with frenzied fans proudly wearing ‘Blazer blue and green and cheering for their conquering heroes. It’s doubtful even the World Champion Denver Broncos would have gotten a warmer welcome than Overland’s own state champions: the Boys Basketball team, which won its second consecutive 5A title this year; the Unified Basketball Team, which went undefeated this season; and the school’s theater arts students, who took top honors at the Colorado ThesCon Thespian Conference.
The impressive achievements of all of these champions were celebrated during a school assembly on April 8. The Blazer pep band performed, the spirit squad cheered and three high energy videos highlighted the teams’ impressive accomplishments on the court and on the stage. Principal Leon Lundie presented each athlete and actor with a Blazer Medal of Excellence. Community leaders, including Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, and district leaders, including Superintendent Harry Bull, were on hand to congratulate the champs.
Dr. Bull commended the students for their hard work and dedication, and also pointed out that there is plenty of room on the state championship banners for additional titles.
“You know what follows 2015 and 2016?” Bull asked. Students answered with cheers of “2017! 2017!”
Along with students and staff, proud parents filled the gym, including Joy L. Walker, whose son Jaylen Johnson is a member of the state champion Unified Basketball Team. Jaylen, a sophomore, has ADHD and some cognitive challenges. It was his first year on the team, which is made up of students with special needs who partner with typically-developing students.
“It’s a very special thing,” Walker said. “To see the kids that come and participate…they were brotherly and kind and showed Jaylen so much love and support.”
Walker said the experience boosted her son’s self-esteem and expanded his horizons. “It made Jaylen look further into the future. He wants to go to DU, he wants to play basketball.”
Walker was also impressed by the celebration of the school’s state champions.
“Hats off to Overland,” Walker said. “They are excellent. I see the excellence here.”