WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Houston County High School hosted the Special Olympics, which was open to students of all grade levels.
It gave the term ‘special’ a new meaning. In fact, most athletes competed in multiple categories.
“We have the standing long jump, the running long jump, the softball throw, we’ve got volleyball going on inside,” said organizer Brenda Arnett.
Arnett says it was all about them that day, and the experience of being cheered on by their peers.
“Most of the people that are out there cheering them on are the partners that are out there because that’s their friend,” said Arnett.
11th grader Casey Bryant says her brother has Down syndrome. That’s why she’s been involved with the Special Olympics since 7th grade as a ‘Partner club’ member. The group gets to help with planning and coaching.
“You get to help them, be friends with them, go with them to the Special Olympics and help them with their games,” said Bryant.
8th grader Aniya Perkins says she wants people to know something about her before they judge. “I’m a good person,” she said.
Participating in the Olympics was a perfect way to make new friends and see the support from her partner.
“I’m special…I just want my friends to learn how I am at school, at home and around people,” she added.
Competing was a chance for athletes to show their stuff. “I think that it shows the schools that these kids are just like the other kids,” Arnett said.
But more importantly, it was a chance to feel normal. “It makes them feel like everybody else–their classmates, the people that they go to school with. Now they feel like they’re just as important as they are,” Arnett continued.
The competition was stiff on Friday, but organizers made sure everyone walked away…a winner.
Special Olympics Georgia has nearly 27,000 registered athletes. The Special Olympic Games are held twice a year-once in the winter and once in spring. The two day event ended on Friday.