By Elizabeth Lanier
The Morgan County School System hosted their annual Special Olympics on Wednesday, April 12 at Morgan County High School (MCHS). This is the sixth year MCHS has put on the Special Olympics, which allow students in the special education program, from every school, to go out on the football field and compete in various games, but most importantly have fun. The BEST club at MCHS help host the Special Olympics every year. Carley Henry, president of the Bringing Extraordinary Students Together (BEST) Club, explained that there were around nine games, “They had the 50-yard dash, sack races, softball toss, long jump, tug of war, basketball, soccer shoot, football toss, and bowling,” she said.
The day kicked off with every student at MCHS lining the halls to make way and cheer for the student athletes before they took the field to compete. Students held up signs for the athletes and cheered as loud as they could. After they made their grand entrance, it was off the races! A lot of other MCHS students came to cheer them on throughout the day. Before heading off to lunch, awards were presented. “Every athlete gets awarded; they are all winners for the day! So, there’s not an official winner,” explained Henry.
The Special Olympics impact, not only the athletes, but the students helping out. Ansley Dean, member of the BEST Club described how much the day means to her. “The Special Olympics aren’t just a day filled with sports. I mean it is, but it’s also a time for those kids to socialize, meet new people, and get new friends. Doing the Special Olympics is life changing. It brings me so much joy knowing that all of them are so happy,” Dean said.
Meredith Holloway, coordinator of the Special Olympics and founder of the BEST club explained how important this day was for the athletes. “Our athletes, get a lot out of this event as well. That is apparent by their laughter and smiling faces throughout the day. For a day, the focus is on their abilities, not their disability…what they CAN do. I know that our high schoolers make a difference in their lives each year, but it is the athletes who also make a big difference in the lives our of high schoolers. The student body came out in the hallways to clap and cheer for the athletes as they made their way to the field while the band was playing the fight song. It was one of those One Morgan Moments!” she exclaimed. The Special Olympics has become a Morgan County tradition that Holloway plans on continuing.