Blind Basketball Player Who Has a 4.0 GPA Wows a Crowd of 2,500 With Her Shot

BY Epoch Inspired Staff TIMEApril 26, 2022 PRINT

A basketball player from Zeeland East High School in Michigan who happens to be completely blind wowed a gymnasium packed with 2,500 people by making a basket at the last game of the season.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Brandy Navetta/Zeeland Public Schools)

In a video that has now taken the Internet by storm, Jules Hoogland, a junior at the school, is seen stepping up to the basket during the Zeeland East versus Zeeland West unified basketball game on March 22.

The audience goes completely silent when an assistant begins tapping a stick on the basket right behind the rim so that Jules can hear the sound and identify where to aim her free-throw shot. As soon as the 17-year-old jumps and throws the ball into the net, the crowd cheers her with roaring applause.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Brandy Navetta/Zeeland Public Schools)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Shanna Mc Donnell via Zeeland Public Schools)

The video was posted on the school’s Facebook page 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!” It’s garnered over 270,000 views and praises from netizens.

“Jules has worked so hard over the years at getting the feel for that shot. It was so moving to see her hit that shot again in front of 2,500 people,” Zeeland Public Schools teacher lead Nate VandeGutche said in a statement. “We couldn’t have been more excited for her and her family. It capped off what was a very memorable day for all of us!”

He also shared that the “positive and enthusiastic” environment that the student body created during the day of the game was something the athletes wouldn’t forget.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Brandy Navetta/Zeeland Public Schools)

The game was a part of the zLinks program at the schools, which helps connect students with disabilities to their peers at both campuses.

“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,” said Dr. Mendham, Superintendent of Zeeland Public Schools.

VandeGutche added that this is the seventh year of the school hosting the zLinks peer-to-peer mentor program and the fifth year of them participating in the Special Olympics Unified Sports program. Although organizationally the two programs work differently, they work in collaboration to promote the importance of acceptance and inclusion across their campus and beyond, he explained.

According to Fox News, Jules has a close to 4.0 GPA and is working toward learning to live independently. Her mom, Karen, is so proud of her and all her accomplishments and hopes that her daughter’s story will inspire others.

Watch the video:

(Courtesy of Brandy Navetta/Zeeland Public Schools)

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Epoch Inspired staff cover stories of hope that celebrate kindness, traditions, and triumph of the human spirit, offering valuable insights into life, culture, family and community, and nature.
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