Welcome to the Alumni Page!
This page is dedicated to former participants that helped shape the BlazeSports programs. Many of them have moved on to do amazing things, helping to change how people look at those with disabilities. This page is to recognize those individuals.
If you or someone you know should be recognized or would like to be involved in the alumni group, please contact Maggie Frederick at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dana is one of the original members of BlazeSports’ first youth wheelchair basketball teams. And she still plays today… in her spare time that is. Dana is currently working towards making the 2016 Paralympic Adaptive Rowing Team.
She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2010 with a B.A. in International Studies and a dual minor in French and East Asian Languages and Culture.
After Dana graduated, she moved to Washington D.C. and now works as Assistant Project Coordinator at the Institute for Educational Leadership. Dana said, “I support the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, a national technical assistance center, and DC Advocacy Partners, a program that empowers people with disabilities and their families to become their own advocates and teaches them to navigate local administrative systems. I am also responsible for leading social media, communications, and dissemination efforts around the Center for Workforce Development.”
By doing all that she does, Dana encourages people with disabilities to be proud of their disability identities like she is of hers! When she is not hard at work in her career or sports, Dana is reading, writing, or cooking.
Curran Brown was a BlazeSports athlete and participant for nine years focusing on wheelchair basketball and track and field. Curran is a very driven person in her sport and school career. She hopes to one day go to the Paralympics in field all the while learning to become the best wheelchair basketball player that she can be at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she currently attends.
Curran is studying Neurosciences in hopes to work in the medical field, become a neurologist and to do rehabilitation with people who have been recently injured. When she is not working out and participating in sports, Curran likes to spend time with family and friends, watch movies, shop, and she loves to try new things; she loves new adventures with loved ones.
When asked how BlazeSports has impacted her life she said, “Oh, I could go all day about this, short version, it made me into the person I am today, made me independent, taught me to be more vocal, taught me good socials skills since we traveled a lot more and met a lot of people, helped me to learn about my disability and educated me on many more disabilities, introduced me to the sports world and helped me make many connections. I could easily say I wouldn’t be where I am today with all these opportunities without BlazeSports.”
Kurt Lawton was a member of the BlazeSports wheelchair basketball team from 2002 until 2006. He also participated in Quad Rugby which landed him a scholarship at the University of Arizona. Being a college athlete can be tough work, but Kurt graduated from Arizona in 2010 with a degree in political science and minor in history. But, Kurt did not stop there.
In May of 2014, Kurt graduated from Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University. He went to law school because that was his childhood dream. He said, “I consider myself a life long learner and lawyers really get exposed to a little bit of everything.” He hopes to be a trial lawyer and added, “I want to try and start my career in the Public Defenders office in Augusta, Georgia and then eventually a partner in a law firm.” One day he said he might even run for political office.
When Kurt is not busy working on his career goals, he likes to spend time with friends, watch sports, read a good book, or expand his record collection. Kurt also said, “Blaze played a fundamental part in my life. The program gave me an outlet through sports that I wouldn’t have otherwise experienced. The programs gave me the tools to succeed in law school from confidence, to give all that you are to every task you take on, and to always push yourself to your full potential.”
Cully Mason was a Blazer from 2001 to 2006. He returned to BlazeSports in 2008/9 as an intern and then employee providing website support and coaching of the wheelchair basketball and track team, all the while completing his computer science degree at Southern Polytechnic and State University. You can now find Cully happily building web applications for Connectivity Wireless Solutions or enjoying one of many restaurants in Decatur, GA, where he now calls home. He likes technology so much that it is even one of his hobbies. However, when Cully is not working on computers, he likes to read or listen to audio books.
Cully said, “Growing up, my dad would listen to self help books on the way to dropping us off at school, and I think that stuck with me.” His dad is not the only one who has influenced his life. Cully also said, “BlazeSports has been a major part of my life and I owe a debt of gratitude for everything the organization has done. It really is insane to think about how much they positively influenced my life. I treasure the years that I coached, allowing me to pass that on to future generations.”
James, an Atlanta Institute of Music graduate, is a former BlazeSports basketball and track athlete and still participates in basketball. James remains very involved with BlazeSports as a mentor to the younger Blazers as a BlazeCamp counselor or assists with the implementation of BlazeDays in the schools across Georgia. When he is not participating in sports, he is working in his music studio mixing, making instrumentals, and records with other artists. James is currently striving towards making the 2016 Paralympic track team and running his own recording studio one day.
Maggie Frederick is a college graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and now working as the Administrator and Sport Specialist at BlazeSports. Maggie is one of our original Blazers. She competed on the wheelchair basketball, swimming and track team for BlazeSports and continued competing in track at the university level. Maggie’s favorite personal quote is “you can do anything you set your mind to.” She has always lived by that. Sports have helped her to become the person she is today and wants to encourage others to use sports to do the same for them. Maggie is happy to be back in Georgia and working with BlazeSports!
Christina Young, a former Georgia Blazer, is now a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In October of 2013, Christina was selected to compete in the Under 21 Youth Para-Pan American Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the women’s 3-on-3 wheelchair basketball; five out of six were selected from the USA team tryouts. The USA women went undefeated against Canada and Argentina, coming home with a gold medal.
When asked about her experience and what was her favorite part, Christina said “I think the best result of the games was the experience I had and the friends and connections I made from people across North and South America. It was an experience of a life time from traveling to a beautiful country for the first time, to the different kinds of food I tried, and obviously representing USA for the first time.”