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Colorado high school student, Special Olympic athlete dies of COVID-19 complications

Jackie Pasiano was featured on ESPN in 2019.

DENVER — A Colorado 10th grader and Special Olympic athlete died from complications related to COVID-19 Monday evening, according to a letter from the school's principal. 

Jackie Paisano attended George Washington High School in Denver. 

She competed in the Special Olympics and was featured in a 2019 ESPN video about an adaptive sports program that allowed her to grow and build connections with others. 

"Jackie brightened our days, and challenged us to find joy in every moment," the letter reads.

For a school project, Jackie wrote a poem following the prompt "I Am." The letter said she, at the time, gave the school permission to share her poem as part of a collaborative art project. 

Principal Kristin Waters also shared the poem in her letter:

I AM SASSY AND STRONG
By Jaqueline Paisano via communication device

I am sassy and strong.
I think about school.
I want attention.

I am sassy and strong.
I feel happy.
I worry about my health.
I cry when I am in pain.

I am sassy and strong.
I dream about doing things with my family.
I hope to always be included.
I am sassy and strong.
I am a person and more than my disability.

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George Washington High School will be hosting virtual support sessions for students who need someone to talk to while grieving Jackie's death. 

They will be held:

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