NORTH ANDOVER, MA (WHDH) - For three years, this North Andover High School wrestling competition has brought together high school wrestlers and students with intellectual and development disabilities- it’s called *Wrestle ‘Lympics*- and the winners’ trophies are highly cherished!
Brendan, one of the wrestlers said, “(It’s) my third trophy. It was really big, like this size.”
North Andover High senior Jack Perry has been organizing this event since 2014. He saw something similar in Milford, and was inspired.
“I decided it had to come here too. It was a long process, it took months and months,” said Perry.
But in the end it was worth it.
Wrestle ‘Lympics has raised more than 5 thousand dollars for Best Buddies- and has bonded varsity wrestlers with special needs students like nothing before..
“You can notice the effects on the wrestling team. I will see some of my buddies on the team, high-fiving some of the buddies in the hallway, and sit with them at lunch- things like that. The event did have an impact,” said Perry.
“How’s it going class?” said 7’s Christa Delcamp
“We’re here today to honor a very special student who is really helping to build self esteem and confidence in students and young people who could really use that boost.
Jack Perry,can you come on up?
This is for you, it’s a certificate.”
Perry- “Wow, this is so cool.”
“I can tell you, that’s a cause that’s near to my heart – I’ve participated in best buddies a couple of different years. It is really special to help out students like this- is that why you do it?” asked Delcamp.
“My main inspiration for creating the Wrestle ‘Lympics was because of my brother Zane who has Down Syndrome,” said Perry.
And each year, Zane wrestles Jack, and beats him every time.
“Making this event to benefit an organization that’s dedicated to my brother was not very hard for me to understand.”
And it benefits many more –
“Jack is the best buddy ever, because he organized…things for us,” said Glen Middleton-Cox. “I love wrestling and lacrosse because of Jack Perry.”
“It is Jack who takes each one of these children and brings them into the team, he makes sure he’s got his arm around them, if they’re nervous or not too social, but Jack pays attention to each and every child,” said Amy Ryan, a mother of a wrestler.
Even though Jack graduates in June, he still will have another Wrestle ‘Lympics. Save the date: it’s November 17 at North Andover High.
(Copyright (c) 2017 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)