There were 30 kids who signed up and then they had to add a registration cap and create a wait list. Overall, he said there were about 40 families registered for the program and about 40 volunteers as well.
While Long will be off to college soon, the program will continue in his absence and Norman Public School’s Special Education teacher Ronna Hatfield will take the reins.
“She’s a great special education teacher. She was a volunteer during the season and she was always there, always helping out,” he said. “Next fall after I head off to college, I really look forward to continued success under new leadership under Ronna Hatfield.”
Long said overall it was a great opportunity and he learned a lot for the experience that wouldn’t have been possible without the support of so many people who were there every step of the way.
“Because of Will and partnership with Norman Youth Soccer Association and Norman Public Schools, some very special students were able to enjoy soccer these past few months,” said Justin Milner, NPS Director of Special Services.
“As we all know, Will’s no stranger to recognition. He’s a very talented and hardworking student. This recognition’s a little different because it’s not about recognizing his intelligence, but rather his heart.”
NPS Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano also commented on Long’s successful program and the kind of students, who like Long, represent their families and school district well.
“I think at the heart of what he does is certainly special about him, but also I believe it’s representative of what high school kids do today. They are engaged kids and you can find hundreds and hundreds of examples of it,” Siano said. “I think we as public school board people and educators need to remind communities of kids like Will because he represents really what our high school kids are about.”