Tom Blair, Rylynn Zanon serve on Student Board of Directors

Thomas Cass

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Photo by Thomas Cass

Seniors Tom Blair and Rylynn Zanon participate in the Polar Plunge. The Polar Plunge is an event to raise money for Special Olympics.

Seniors Tom Blair and Rylynn Zanon have worked with TRUST Club all four years they have been in high school. Additionally, this year they have served in a cabinet position on the Special Olympics Minnesota Student Board of Directors. Being in cabinet positions, they are part of the student led group that heads the Student Board of Directors.

The two of them met when they joined TRUST Club during their freshman year where they became coaches of the Unified basketball team. They have continued to work closely with each other through TRUST Club and remained good friends.

“We’ve gotten really close… she’s a great friend of mine, and she’s way more organized so she definitely keeps me in check,” senior Tom Blair said.

They have put in a lot of effort into spreading information and awareness about TRUST Club and inclusion in the school. That is one of the most important things that they try to do.

“We’re trying to get other people to recognize and be in our club… giving everyone a chance to learn more about inclusion,” senior Rylynn Zanon said.

Both Blair and Zanon were recommended to apply for the Student Board of Directors by Paula Harrison, the head of TRUST Club. Blair said she has been a huge motivator for him and others during their high school years.

Blair and Zanon were promoted to cabinet positions through their work with the Student Board of Directors. In those positions they have worked with and led a group of their peers who share their interests. They have organized and ran many different events that promote inclusion and equality with Unified.

“There was a huge unified basketball game in Bemidji … and that was through, well, somewhat through the student board, at least we allocated with that. And then another thing we have coming up is a flag football tournament, where we’re having schools from all across the state come together,” Blair explained.

The Student Board of Directors, including Blair and Zanon, went to the state capitol on March 1. While there, they addressed government officials about inclusion and unification within an educational setting. 

Blair and Zanon “had multiple government officials speaking saying that they have experienced this within a school” in response to sharing their own experiences.

Beyond their high school careers, Blair and Zanon will continue to be advocates for unification and inclusion for everyone.

“Giving them the opportunity to feel normal because they are normal is very empowering … it’s very addicting,” Blair said.