Sports enthusiast and Special Olympics athlete named grand marshal
As the seasons change, so do the Special Olympics sports. Throughout the year, Sean, 28, participates in bowling, powerlifting, snowshoeing, basketball, track and field and softball, where he is currently playing catcher.
Sean may also be found on the sidelines of Lassen High School’s Arnold Field, wearing a football jersey and helmet, running up and down the sideline cheering on the Grizzlies and getting the crowd pumped up. He also attends basketball games at both LHS and Lassen College, and Little League and high school baseball games.
Carrie Nyman, Lassen College’s adaptive physical education teacher and local sports programmer for Special Olympics, and student teacher Whitney Mouck nominated Sean for the award.
Carrie said she came across the Grand Marshal nomination form and decided to nominate Sean.
This year’s fair theme is “A Treasure Chest of Lassen’s Best,” and Nyman said Sean is an absolute treasure of Lassen County.
She said Sean represents Lassen County everywhere the Special Olympics team travels.
Because of Sean, people know about Lassen County and Special Olympics, she said.
Sean was born in Orange County and raised by his grandparents, Al and June Cipriano. They moved to Lassen County in 1996.
Sean said his favorite thing to do with his grandpa, who died in 1994, was play golf.
June, who now lives in Reno, Nev., said Sean’s interest in sports began when he was a toddler. He would grab a hairbrush or pen and swing it around like a bat. June said she thinks Sean got the idea while watching baseball with his grandfather.
Nearly every Christmas, June said it seemed Sean was getting sports equipment.
While in Orange County, Sean played in the Challenger Division of Little League, which is designed for people with mental or physical challenges. He also played in the Challenger Division for one year in Lassen County before the program was no longer offered, June said.
When he was playing for Little League, Sean recalled a time when he hit a grand slam with the bases loaded and two players already out.
Sean also said Rick Wagner, a retired teacher from Meadow View School and a coach, taught him how to play baseball.
In addition, Sean is also an avid fan of professional sports, naming the Sacramento Kings as his favorite basketball team and the Oakland A’s as his favorite baseball team.
He said he likes the San Francisco 49ers, but Carrie said he has also named the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks among his favorites, or whichever team is winning.
However, one of the athletes Sean said he looks up to is former LHS football player Michael Hardy, who graduated in 2007.
Although sports may be his main interest, Sean is involved in other community activities. He is president of the People’s First Club, an organization designed to serve people with developmental challenges throughout California.
He works at Meadow View School washing dishes in the cafeteria and may often be heard calling on KSUE and 93-JDX’s morning radio show, the Breakfast Club, and on the Scott Blackwood Show in the evening.
Sean also attends the Sacred Heart Catholic Church every Saturday night where he is the altar boy — assisting the priest, getting to ring the church bells and carrying the cross out at the end of the service.
He also likes music and names Elvis as his favorite artist. Sean won first place in the Elvis contest at Lassen Community College’s American Idol spinoff show in 2007.
June said Sean loves and misses his grandpa but has an aunt, uncle and cousin who he loves dearly; they do not live in the area.
However, June said Sean, who lives in a group home, is happy as a clam living in Lassen County.
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