OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As the players of New Town High School’s Allied soccer team ran onto the field of Franklin High School in October, they had no idea they would be running off the field as champions.
It was the first time New Town’s Allied soccer program had ever won the western division.
"I was totally amazed and shocked,“ said Karen Hunt-Reynolds, the team’s coach and special needs teacher at New Town. "It was the best feeling ever."
Hunt-Reynolds coaches all three Allied sports teams at New Town, which also includes bowling and softball. The Allied Sports program is throughout Baltimore County and gives disabled students the opportunity to play high school sports.
“She's really developed the program here and taken it to another level in the last five years," said Brad Kressman, a resource teacher with the Allied Sports program.
"Her dedication level to the students at New Town is apparent," he said. "When I come to watch the games, she has a very engaging smile and the way she interacts with students is great."
And Hunt-Reynolds is just as engaging in her classroom. Most of her students are autistic and non-verbal, so she says thinking outside the box is a must. On the day WMAR-2 News came to visit, she was teaching the students how to make Christmas tree decorations out of homemade dough.
Hunt-Reynolds has been teaching for about 20 years and always with special needs students. She says there is one important lesson she’s learned in her years of teaching.
“You have to understand that all children have gifts and talents and they really do," she said. "It doesn't matter whether they're special needs or not, they all have something that makes them special, something that they can do and you have to try to meet them where they are."
Her dedication and commitment to finding the special gift within each of her students is what her colleagues say makes her such a valuable asset to New Town High.
“Ms. Hunt-Reynolds is a caring teacher,” said James Martin, principal at New Town High. "She pushes the students with rigor in the classroom and she goes above and beyond."
The Allied soccer team’s plaque sits among all the other sports awards in the hall of New Town. It’s a reminder to every student who walks by the showcase that they are all equal and so are their accomplishments.
“My kids are winners no matter what."