To the Editor,
I have written about my son, Matteo Filippelli, several times in the past. But I must take this opportunity to acknowledge a new group of student-athletes who will take over where the football team left off. The Brooke High School swim team, its coaches, the boosters and the athletic department have welcomed Matteo as a freshman member of this year's swim team.
Matt started swimming competitively for the Follansbee City Swim League but hasn't done so in the past few years. This year he will get the opportunity to be in the lane next to some of the best swimmers in the Ohio Valley.
This opportunity opens up a new group of student athletes to the world of children who are "handicapable."
I have always tried to treat Matt with the normalcy of other children. The support we have received from the people of Brooke County and the Brooke County school system have allowed me to do this. To their credit they have always been willing to allow him to try new things.
If you are at a Brooke swimming event this year, and you see a young man wearing his dark green belt, just know that he has a great support system in Brooke County. He may be the last one reaching the wall, but he will have everyone on their feet cheering. He'll make you smile and make you feel good about life in general.
Students and parents who have never met Matty are gaining a feeling of acceptance, tolerance and compassion. They will be reminded what true acceptance means. With all the negativity surrounding teenagers these days, my hope is that he will bring something positive to the Bruins season.
The coaches, the parents and, most of all, the players, have been amazing. Thank you again for making my son a Bruin in every sense of the word. I truly believe that Brooke has reached the level of "the best of the best" when it comes to high school sports.