By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor
Silver medalist John Kusku, a blind Paralympian and member of the USA Men’s Goalball Team, is on his way to Tokyo soon.
But first, he wanted to stop in at King Elementary School to talk to students enrolled in the SISS summer program.
“Any chance I have to speak really to anyone, I want to do it,” said Kusku, who brought his USA uniform and silver medal for students to see. “I want to explain what goalball is, what the Paralympics is, to show that a person with a vision impairment can interact in the world successfully.”
Goalball is a team sport designed for those with a vision impairment that involves throwing a bell-embedded ball into the opponent’s goal. His team won a silver medal in the Rio 2016 Paralympics and he will be leaving soon for the Tokyo Olympics in hopes of bringing home the gold.
Marianne J. Fidishin, Executive Director of Student Interventions and Support Services at AAPS, is thankful that Kusku took time from his busy training schedule to share his experiences as a role model just before taking off for the 2021 Paralympics.
“In a world of naysayers, Mr. Kasku is showing our students all that they can do,” she said. “Each student is indeed abled, entitled to the expectations and dreams they feel within their souls staying true to their authentic selves. As Mr. Kasku leaves us today to embark on his next dream, we not only wish him well but also thank him for reminding us all, each and every day, what we are able to accomplish with hard work and determination and the support of school, family and friends.”
Kusku was born with a hereditary degenerative retinal disease and is legally blind, with less than one degree of vision in each eye. When he was a child, he was introduced to goalball at a Sports Education Camp hosted by the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes at Western Michigan University.
Kusku, an Oakland County math and physics high school teacher who lives in Commerce Township, is among those featured in the following video of the USA Men’s Paralympic Goalball Team preparing for Tokyo: