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Business students help make Michigan Senior Olympics a success

Monday, September 30, 2013
Business students help make Michigan Senior Olympics a success

When Oakland University student Cynthia Sanchez volunteered to help with the 2013 Michigan Senior Olympics (MSO) last summer, she wasn’t sure what to expect from the older athletes who’d be participating. Sanchez was among a group of students -- all in a summer statistics class taught by David Doane, professor, quantitative methods, in OU’s department of Decision and Information Sciences – who devoted a hot August day to volunteer at the Michigan Senior Olympics’ track and field competition. The athletes ranged in age from 50 to 99.

The competitors’ energy and athleticism stayed with her long after the event. “One of the participants was 99 years old,” Sanchez recalls. “It was amazing to see someone his age being so active, and it was really inspiring to see how much he enjoyed competing.”

Sanchez was among a group of students -- all in a summer statistics class taught by David Doane, professor, quantitative methods, in OU’s department of Decision and Information Sciences – who devoted a hot August day to volunteer at the Michigan Senior Olympics’ track and field competition. The athletes ranged in age from 50 to 99.

Most of the students later remarked, like Sanchez, that their favorite part of the day was their interaction with the seniors. “It was a great event, and I did enjoy myself,” student Clifton Hermiz says. “I personally helped with the javelin throw and measured the distance it was thrown. Overall, it was a great experience, and I would do it again if I had the chance.”

Student Crystal Easo, who worked the high jump that day was in awe of the seniors she observed. “Many of the participants could actually jump over 3 ½ feet, which was impressive,” she says. “One participant was actually able to jump over 5 feet, which I thought was inspiring.

“It was great to see so many people of the older generation be part of something competitive and show us all how it’s done.”

Doane, who has medaled in swimming in the Michigan Summer Olympics, says he’s hoping to give even more students an opportunity to be part of this spirit-lifting event next year.

“Senior MSO athletes compete not only in track and field events, but also in cycling, triathlon, tennis, pickleball and other sports,” he says. “Volunteers are always needed. Maybe we can start a new partnership between SBA and the MSO.”

For information about the 2014 Michigan Senior Olympic events, contact Becky Ridke with the Older Persons Commission at (248) 608-0250.

Pictured left to right: David Doane, Clifton Hermiz, Crystal Easo, Jamel Anderson, Mays Thomas, Rita Jarjis, Cynthia Sanchez, Shagayeg Farahani