In a historic move wheelchair bound students from the area are getting a chance to participate on their school's track and field team thanks to a UIL pilot program. Four area students will travel to Austin next week to take part in a track meet on the University of Texas campus. Students who said they're working hard to take advantage of an amazing opportunity.
Emily Hilbish is a junior at River Road High School. She found out about the UIL pilot program through "One Chair at a Time". She said she could not wait to show her school spirit and be part of a team, something she thought would never be possible.
"It makes me feel a lot more included. I've made a lot of friends because of it. We all want to do everything that everybody else can and it's important that you get the opportunity to share that experience with everyone and have fun. It can be damaging to be told that you're not allowed, you can't do something your whole life," said Hilbish.
But to learn to race is a difficult task said Hilbish, because it involves a lot of upper body strength and the movements are different along with the chair.
"You hit the chairs like with your fist, you have these gloves on and you hit it with your fist and you kind of have to hold it and then push, you're not griping it. Getting started, I mean I always had pretty good arm strength because I do push a wheelchair all the time. But I've gotten significantly stronger, its just lifting weights and practicing everyday".
Emily said she hopes practice makes perfect.
"I know the competition is going to pretty hard but I'm going to go do my best and do what I can to try to win a medal".
There's hope Emily will win a medal, because according to her mom, she's very competitive. Meantime, Emily said she hopes the UIL will open more sports to disabled students in the future.