States around the country are hosting their regional Special Olympics games this summer. In New Jersey, the games' opening ceremonies begin Friday.
Jose Rodriguez participated in the New Jersey Special Olympics back in 2003, when he was 13. Special Olympics offers a chance for people with intellectual disabilities to pursue a sport. Jose has trouble learning — mostly through reading and writing.
Speaking at StoryCorps, Jose, 23, told his former basketball coach, Charles Zelinsky, 57, what his life was like before he found the games.
Tyrese Graham is a second-year science teacher at John Marshall Metropolitan High School on the West Side of Chicago. When he started teaching there, Marshall was among the worst public schools in the city.
When Graham walked into his first class, he could hardly speak over the noise of the students. He tried to make a point by not talking.
"I'll let you finish, but realize, every moment that I'm not talking and providing you instruction, you guys will be giving that back to me," he told them.
Graham's remarks were met with a sharp rebuke from one of his students.
Dennis McLaughlin interviewed his mom, Theresa, to thank her for how she raised him. Born in 1948 with spina bifida, he was missing several vertebrae and was unable to use his legs. Theresa was a single mom, working in a paper mill near Portland, Maine.
"When you were 1 year old, your grandfather McLaughlin built you a little wheelchair," Theresa says, "built it out of wood that he had and wheels from a tricycle, and you got around in that very, very well."