FMHS alum donates $1,000 to schools ESE program
FORT MYERS, Fla.– Fort Myers alumni, Paris Thompson, left the school as one of the all-time greatest athletes. Even though she is beginning her college career at Notre Dame, she is still making an impact on the school.
There aren’t many awards in volleyball that Thompson did not win while at Fort Myers. She’s an All-American, Miss Florida Volleyball and most recently was named Florida’s Gatorade player of the year.
“It didn’t really sink in until a little while after and to get to represent Florida with that is just awesome,” Thompson said.
With the latest honor came the biggest perk of the bunch – Gatorade would donate one-thousand dollars to a charity or organization of the winners choice.
“Honestly I didn’t even really look into any charities,” Thompson said. “I just kind of heard it and I said it has to be ESE.”
She picked the schools Exceptional Student Education program which allows students with special needs to play sports. She was a part of the program as a partner to the athletes since her freshman year. She practiced with them after school and even going on a trip with the teak to the state tournament in Orlando prior to the pandemic.
“I think they did have a huge impact on my life where I am and how I have grown as a person,” Thompson said.
So picking them as the recipients of the donation was automatic for the newest member of the Norte Dame Fighting Irish.
“I think it tells you how important it was to her and the experiences that she has taken over these last four years,” said Special Olympic Coordinator at Fort Myers High School and ESE teacher Garrett Copeland.
She got as much enjoyment out of those experience as the athletes themselves.
“I think they needed her as much as she needed them to be honest with you,” Mr. Copeland said.
Thompson is giving back a fraction compared to the memories and lessons that the program passed on to her.
“When I kind of think my life is hard or when I think things are going bad I just kind of look into their life perspective and I’m like I can do it. If they can I can too,” Thompson said.
Paris and Mr. Copeland said there isn’t a plan for the money yet but that every little bit will be used to help the ESE program in anyway.