Waubonsie Valley High School started its Special Olympics program in 1987, being the first school in the Valley. We are proud of our strong culture of team work that promotes individual growth, self-advocacy, tradition and spirit. We are  committed to provide our athletes with the experience to be part of the athletic community in our school and challenge themselves while participating in competitive sports.

We have a team of coaches and peer partners who support and guide each athlete in their physical training, skill development, and preparation for competition.

We live by our oath

“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Special Olympics offers year-round training and competitions in Olympic-style sports to high school athletes with intellectual disabilities. Our individual and team sports include Unified Soccer, basketball, aquatics, track and field, and bowling. WV Special Olympics ensures that everyone has the chance to exert themselves to the fullest, to reach beyond their own limits, and to feel proud of their achievements.


Our peer-partners are students volunteers who act as coaches, leaders, role models, and cheerleaders for our athletes. They assist with the different sports and develop long-lasting friendships with athletes. If you are interested in becoming a Peer Partner, please check the information under PEER PARTNERS in the menu bar.

Team of Coaches


Alfonso Ruiz

Head Coach

Mr. Ruiz started college in Mexico and continue his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) majoring in Philosophy after attending DePaul University to study English as Second Language. He then returned to UIC to obtain a Master's degree in Special Education (LBS-1), and he recently completed, also at UIC, an Assistive Technology Leadership in Special Education Program and obtained an LBS-2 certification in multi-needs and an LBS-2 certification as Technology specialist. He has been working at Waubonsie Valley since 2007. He joined Special Olympics as assistant coach in the Fall of 2015 coaching soccer. He grew up playing and loving soccer; soccer is an integral part of his life. Mr. Ruiz enjoys running (4 Half-marathons), listening to Jazz, reading, and playing soccer.

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Dan Berardi

Assistant Coach

Mr. Berardi received his Bachelor's degree from Northern Illinois University in Special Education in 2013, and he recently completed his Master's degree in Teacher Leadership from North Central College. He has coached baseball for 8 years and coached volleyball at Crome Middle School in 2019. He first started coaching/volunteering Special Olympic basketball in 2010 with the DeKalb Special Recreation Association where he quickly grew to love the relationships that he was able to build with the athletes. 2016 was his first season coaching Special Olympic basketball at Waubonsie Valley and could not have enjoyed it more! In his free time, he is an avid sports fan. Mr. Berardi specifically follows the White Sox, Bears, Bulls, and Hawks on a daily basis.

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Michelle Demar

Assistant Coach

Mrs. DeMar graduated from Illinois State University in the fall of 2013 with a Bachelor's degree in Special Education, and recently finished up her Master's Degree in Educational Technology from Aurora University. She has worked with Special Olympics through SEASPAR (Special Parks and Recreation), and is looking forward to using that experience with students here at WV. In her free time Mrs. DeMar enjoys singing, kickboxing, and hanging out with her family, friends, and two Goldendoodles. Fun Fact: Mrs. DeMar graduated from Waubonsie in 2009! Once a Warrior, always a Warrior!


John Van Overbake

Assistant Coach

Mr. Van Overbake graduated from Illinois State University in the fall of 2011 with a Bachelor's degree in history/social studies education. He received his LBS1 endorsement from the University of St. Francis in the summer of 2014. He student taught at Waubonsie in 2011, became a D204 substitute in 2012 and a teaching assistant at Waubonsie in 2014. Becoming head coach of Special Olympics was the perfect opportunity for Mr. Van Overbake to continue to work and build on the relationships he and the students built together in the classroom while he was a TA. Mr. Van Overbake enjoys skateboarding, music, movies, the great outdoors, food, animals, Da Bulls and Da Bears!

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Pictures and videos a contribution by: Mr. Harvey, Anna S., Rachel Z., Delaney S, Amber T., Paige S.
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