Nearly 100 participate in Mini-Special Olympics

ronPARK

staff writer

FUN RUNNING — Pre-K students from the Special Learning Center take off in a group race as volunteers root them on during Friday’s Special Olympics event at Bethel University’s football stadium.

Approximately 95 special needs children from all over the county gathered at with dozens of adult and student volunteers at Bethel University’s football stadium Friday morning for this year’s Carroll County Mini-Special Olympics.

The children participated and competed in a wide variety of track and field events and medals were presented in special ceremonies at the conclusion of the meet.

But the day wasn’t so much about fierce competition or winning medals — it was about having fun, making friends, and being active.

“Everyone involved, whether an athlete or volunteer, had a great time,” said Karlene Cheatham, found and coordinator of this independent Special Olympics event.

Cheatham started the event six years ago at the Special Learning Center in Huntingdon, where she works as a preschool teacher, and the event has grown year after year to include special needs children from all five of the county’s special school districts.

GOAL — Zay Weatherford puts the ball in the net during Friday’s Special Olympics event at Bethel University.

“It’s my passion to see special needs kids being active,” said Cheatham.

Participating children were provided with free T-shirts courtesy of Bethel University, and Bethel’s Physiology Department provided snacks for everyone.

Coordinated School Health donated the medals.

Cheatham also wanted to thank the Bethel football team and coaching staff for use of their beautiful facility, Dr. Reid’s classes, Dr. Nelson’s classes, Dr. Session’s classes, Dr. Buford’s classes, Mrs. Elliott’s classes, Community Engagement Scholar, Global Studies, Chap and Carnell for community service hours, Mrs. Nelson, and Nicole Lusk.

“Lastly, thank you to all my Special Olympics volunteers who are so stupendous and make our program the premier in the county,” said Cheatham. “You know who you are, and I thank you!”

BUCKET TOSS — Brock Miller, 3, from the Special Learning Center in Huntingdon tosses the ball right in the bucket during Special Olympics festivities Friday morning at Bethel University’s football stadium.

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