MAROA, Ill. (WCIA) — Wade Jostes and his Maroa-Forsyth classmates are speaking out.
“We had tried several different things and some of them weren’t as effective as we wanted them to be,” says the senior quarterback.
Last week, the students created the hashtag challenge “Hear Our Voice Illinois”, a way for athletes around Illinois to speak up on social media and encourage others to do the same.
“We knew that a lot of people were affected by this and a lot of people felt similarly about it, but this was just a good way to jump start it,” says Jostes. “Get a challenge going, challenge some other schools, some other individuals to get their message across. Now you look on Twitter and it’s kids I don’t even know across the state posting, it’s really cool to see.”
Jostes’s original video now has more than 30,000 views and the official IHSA account even retweeted it. They challenged Mt. Zion students to join in, and Braves quarterback Ashton Summers and his classmates answered the call.
“I think that once we all saw it we said, ‘Alright we can do this too,'” says Summers. “I think that it’s sending a big message out there to all the state leaders.”
The Illinois Department of Public Health has set a pathway for the state to get back to playing sports, but there’s still no set schedule, leaving doubt for high risk sports like basketball and football. Each player is hoping raising their voice will help make a difference.
“Just thinking about it right now I got goosebumps,” says Summers. “It’s been over a year since every football player in the state of Illinois has played a game, and for me I haven’t gone that long without playing a game since I was four. It is different, it does suck, but we’re all going to roll with the punches.”
“To be able to get over that hump and actually be able to get back out there on the field, court, whatever it happens to be for you, it’s just going to be awesome for every kid in Illinois,” says Jostes.