By Britney Morgan
“Instead of being on the sidelines, they are the champions. They are the athletes with the fans to cheer them on.” Those were the heartfelt thoughts of Regina Gennaro, Special Olympics liaison for Atlanta Public Schools as she watched students from across the district compete at the APS Special Olympics Track & Field event held Wednesday, April 1, 2015. More than 300 students competed in the following track and field events:
Track Events: 50M, 100M, 25M
Field Events: Standing Long Jump, Running Long Jump, Softball Throw, Shot Put, Tennis Ball Throw and Bean Bag Toss
Special Olympics Coach, Lisa Oglesby, from North Atlanta High School said that this is a great opportunity for all students. “A lot of our kids don’t get the opportunity to participate in athletics at the school level,” said Oglesby. “This gives all of our kids the opportunity to experience competition and what it means to be on a team.”
Employees from around the district showed support in various capacities as volunteers at the event. Ty Lewis, APS Special Education Assistant Technology Specialist, who handed out ribbons to event winners, shared why she loves to volunteer at Special Olympics. “I volunteer for Special Olympics because that’s where my heart is. I’ve been working in Special Education for seven years,” said Lewis. “It’s a great thing to see the kids that I work with in the classroom participate in sports.”
Gennaro explained that many times after local competitions, students participate in state competitions. “They get to be away for the weekend, learn independence and make new friends,” said the district’s Special Olympics liaison.
She says that Special Olympics is all about the kids feeling good and feeling proud. “This is their athletic program and instead of being on the sideline they are the champions, they are the athletes with the fans to cheer them on.”
We are proud of our students and volunteers who participated in the Special Olympics Track & Field event.
See more photos from the competition below.