During a basketball game at Zeeland East High School in Zeeland, Michigan, an unforgettable moment of 11th grader Jules Hoogland was captured on video.
With over 2,500 people packed into a gymnasium, community members of Zeeland Public School District eagerly watched 11th grade Jules Hoogland make a free throw from the school’s basketball court. The unforgettable moment? Hoogland is blind.
The video shared on social media quickly went viral and for good reason. Within the video, the massive crowd is silenced by the school district faculty in order for Hoogland to obtain all the focus she could. Extraordinarily, the 11th grader was able to make the shot due to her keen sense of audio. A woman approached the back of the basketball hoop and began tapping the backboard with a pole so that the teenager’s ears could guide her to where the hoop was.
As the ball left her hand, the entire crowd was on the edge of their seats. As soon as the ball entered the net with ease, the sea of 2,500 erupted into applause over the incredible event.
Brandy Navetta, the school district’s communications and marketing director, posted the 24-second video to Twitter with the caption, “And you thought March Madness was exciting. Zeeland Public Schools Unified Basketball took over the court this morning, and the crowd went WILD!”
Since being posted, it has surpassed 3 million views and was even reposted by notable sports outlet, SportsCenter. Fans across the world are celebrating the historic moment Hoogland orchestrated.
Teachers of Jules Hoogland discuss the Special Olympics’ Unified Sports program
“Jules has worked so hard over the years at getting the feel for that shot,” Nate VandeGutche, a Zeeland West High School teacher, said of Hoogland when speaking with the local news outlet. According to their school district, this is the fifth year their district has participated in the Special Olympics’ Unified Sports program.
VandeGutche explained that the purpose of the program is to “promote the importance of acceptance and inclusion across our campus and beyond,” and has helped special needs peers connect with their fellow students.
Dr. Mendham, superintendent of Zeeland Public Schools, even acknowledged the importance of this program in a statement. “We are grateful for the way this program has impacted our students across the district as it represents the best of what Zeeland has to offer: compassion, opportunities, and relationships,” he shared.
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