By Tia Lynn Ivey
Morgan County students competed in the 8th Annual Morgan County Special Olympics last week at the Morgan County High School football stadium. Students in the special education program from all four Morgan County schools enjoyed a day of friendly competition, games, and celebration.
The 2019 Morgan County Special Olympics went very well. Everything was organized and all of the teachers and participants seemed to have a blast. The weather held out for us and we were grateful for that,” said Lindsey Smith, a Morgan County teacher who helped organize the event.
“The Special Olympics were great!” said Abbey Adams, a Morgan County High School who helped promote the event. “The weather was nice and the kids had so much fun. It was such a special experience to see all the kids participating and being cheered on by many volunteers.”
Students squared off in numerous competitions before celebrating with awards at the end of the day. Games included the 50-yard dash, sack races, softball toss, long jump, tug of war, basketball, soccer shoot, football toss, and bowling. Local sponsors include Fusion Church, the Humane Society of Morgan County, Farmview Market, and Amelia’s.
“This year’s Special Olympics has a whole new focus of taking these wonderful athletes and trying to give them a greater feeling of competition while still making it all about them,” said Adams
Organizers were excited to revamp the annual Special Olympics this year.
“This year we are working towards starting to make a new name for Morgan County Special Olympics. We want it to be better then ever,” explained Smith,
According to Lindsey Smith, a Morgan County teacher who helped organize the event, 65 Morgan County students competed in this year’s Special Olympics and 90 student volunteers worked to make the event run smoothly.
While Morgan County has hosted this local Special Olympics event every year for nearly a decade, this year’s event has earned a new state-level distinction that has created further opportunities for participating students.
“It is with great pleasure that we can now say that Morgan County is an accredited sanction of Special Olympics of Georgia,” said Adams before the Special Olympics last Friday. “What this means for Morgan County, is that student athletes who participate and qualify can eventually go to compete in state Special Olympic games. State games are held three times a year and are hosted by different counties throughout the state.
Smith hopes some of the Morgan County students who play in Friday’s games will be able to participate in future Special Olympics around the state.
“Having Special Olympics in Morgan county brings the community together as a whole. It allows students with disabilities to be able to participate in events that they would not otherwise be able to participate in. It also opens the eye for others in the community to be able to see what it means to these students to feel part of a community as a whole. Eventually, in Morgan county we would like to host our local games as a competition for our students to be able to compete and get training in skills and events that would led them going and competing in state and possibly world games,” explained Smith.
Organizers plan to hold future fundraisers to sponsor selected students to play in the state games for Special Olympics of Georgia.
“In the long run, this means more opportunity for students in Morgan County with disabilities to be a part of something special and have a chance to travel. Morgan County High School is hosting this years Morgan County Special Olympics,” said Adams.