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A look at an Athlete-Leader’s Capstone Project

D'Agostino, Allison_StaffThis blog post was written by athlete-leader Allison D’Agostino. She is an athlete-leader from Columbia. She is involved with Athlete Leadership Programs University and took her final class in earlier this year in March. In order to graduate, the final class asks the athlete-leaders to come up with a final project and complete it. Allison writes a personal blog on a weekly basis and some of her posts chronicled her work with her Capstone project. Some of her posts, including the one with her final Capstone project (a documentary about a SOMO athlete from Columbia), are included below. Allison will graduate from Athlete Leadership Programs University in May 2019 with a degree in Communications!

March 4:
Yes! ^_^ Finally. The last semester for my Communications major. I’m so excited I got to attend this particular semester for Athlete Leadership Programs University. (See; what did I tell ya? The exciting stuff always happens the first week of the month. That’s why I forget to write my weekly blogs. Lol. Nothing happens.)

Like most majors, all the majors at ALPs U have a Capstone class to finish it off. Any-who, each of us needed to come up with a project that would suit our major. One athlete-leader intends to become a mentor for this fall’s semester; another chose speeches as well as hosting a unified partners/athletes event, and there’s even an athlete-leader who plans to make a documentary on a chosen SOMO athlete, to show people we Special Olympics athletes do more than practice and compete in sports.

Can you guess who that last athlete-leader is? Yep, it’s me. ^_^ I’m so excited!

Already I’ve talked to my dad, as well as contacted the Central Area manager to make certain the athlete of my choice lives in Columbia. That way I don’t have to worry about transportation so much. (I still don’t have a license, and I plan to keep it that way. Angela Lansbury inspired me!)

Aug. 26:
I attempted to edit my Capstone project Friday and Saturday at the local access television station. Not much is done, but I got some progress.

The deadline is September 9th, but seeing as this is a documentary for the capstone, I’m desperate to turn it in this Friday. I’m so nervous. I want everything just right, but that’s clearly not happening. I overwhelm and overthink things.

There’s a word I’m searching for, but it’s not coming to me. Lol. Oh, well. I’ll figure it out. Wish me luck!

Sept. 2:
Boy, was this week a stressful one. Fun, but stressful. Ever since I took my final semester for ALPs U (Athlete Leadership Programs University), I took my professor’s advice to heart. He happens to be the PR man for Special Olympic Missouri. I look up to him so much and take what he says seriously. Except when I know he’s joking or teasing me, which he doesn’t do quite often.

I still remember the time when I was at HQ… I think it was the week we were leaving for Seattle. I mentioned to one of the employees that he’s a lovable guy. And off in the distance, while he was searching for a banner, we hear him call out — “If that’s what you think, then I’m not doing my job.” I busted out laughing.

I know he can be intimidating at times. That just shows how much he cares, which is a lot. He’s one of those people who can watch you from the sidelines and can tell almost immediately that you have potential of being a great person and influencer, if you get my drift.

Anyway, I’m getting distracted.

His advice to me was to finish my capstone a few weeks prior to the homework deadline. That way, if he has any ideas or suggestions on what I can do to improve the video before it’s finalized as my capstone assignment. Well, I finished it… with one week away. Yikes!

Only now I’m nervous of what he’ll say. I’m not happy with the opening credits, but that’s probably because I’ve seen so many movies, shows, and documentaries, that I want mine to be just as amazing. I reviewed my documentary with my mentor and noticed a flaw or two. I’m not going to do anything, though. I already sent it to my professor. I only hope he gives me enough good/bad criticism that will help me make better videos.

Oh, boy. Wish me luck!

Nov. 8:
Wow, I cannot believe how long it’s been since I posted a regular blog, and not one about my gaming channel. Haha! The sad thing is – I never gave a full recap when my prof responded to my capstone project.
First off, I want to thank everyone involved. Not just Anna McDaniel and her sister, but also Matt Rapp, Coach Chris Klepfel, CATV, HyVee, Lazer Lanes, University of Missouri (for the Stankowski Field,) as well as the VA hospital. Without them, the documentary would not be such a success.

Now, let’s talk about what happened when my professor finally responded. He definitely made a BUNCH of notes on what could’ve been done, what needed revising/fixing, and how I as a director should know what to cut out. He even said that it should be cut into separate videos, so the storyboard of it all makes sense.

I understand that documentaries have different time lengths. Shoot, he’s done plenty on SOMO’s YouTube channel. I also understand that not all people can watch 30 minute videos. Heck, the average watch span on almost the entire YouTube site is probably 3 minutes, and I’m just assuming here.

I didn’t want it in separate videos, though. As a potential director, and from memory of all the documentaries I’ve seen, I wanted to put my point across in one video. That someone with a disability can achieve anything. I’m sure you could make that point in multiple videos, but would you remember to watch the next video after such a long break?

Oh, and don’t worry. My professor didn’t give all negative comments. He also pointed out some good things, which made the director side of me quite happy. I’m almost always proud of the work I’ve done – almost.

Oh, geez. I almost forgot. I passed! ^_^ I’ll be in the graduation ceremony at the SOMO State Summer Games next year. Yay!


Editor’s note: We are very proud of Allison and everything she did for her Capstone project. Our athlete-leaders continue to prove just how valuable Athlete Leadership Programs are. People with intellectual disabilities just want to prove that they too have skills to share with the world. So many SOMO athletes want to give back to the organization that has done so much for them. ALPs is about educating and empowering our athletes to use those skills to better themselves and their communities. If you’re wanting to get involved with ALPs, visit or email