Event brings students together


Submitted Photo

Student helpers and competing students take a break during the Special Olympics held at Rogers Stadium this year.

Noah Aberegg, Staff Reporter

Inclusion is key in the world of sports, and the Special Olympics is no exception. Across the district, students with intellectual and physical disabilities showcased their talents and inspired others to break down barriers in the athletic arena.

On Friday, May 12, several students from Life Skills classrooms around the district competed in the annual Special Olympics competition. This year, the event was held at Rogers Stadium, and had members of Pleasant Gap, Bellefonte Elementary, BAMS, and BAHS competing in eight events.

“Special Olympics is an opportunity for Special Needs kids to get out and get together with various running and throwing events,” said BAMS Life Skill’s Teacher, Mr. Jeff Rager.

Some of the events the students competed in include a walk, run, long jump, wheelchair race, and softball toss. Freshman Phoenix Torres competed in long jump, as well as the 25-meter and 50-meter race.

“It’s difficult to choose my favorite part of Special Olympics. I’ve had a fun time and have enjoyed having everyone here and being with everyone,” Phoenix said.

Junior Amber Keith, also ran the 25-meter dash. She placed first place in that event.

“I like the Special Olympics because I see all my friends and get to do all the fun activities,” Amber said.

In addition to the Life Skills students participating in the event, several members of the Bellefonte High School’s Student Council and National Honors Society volunteered in some of the events.

“My job was to distribute clipboards as well as start many of the running races. I would give the ready, set, go command for the athletes,” senior Cecilia Mazzocco said. 

Preparation for the event began many months prior to the Special Olympics. Volunteers were collected, athletes were trained, and events were assigned.

“Over the last few months, the kids have been practicing events with their coaches. There are coaches at the Middle School that have helped practice softball toss and other events,” Mr. Rager said.

Mrs. Lisa Packer is currently working as a longterm substitute for the Life Skills classroom at BAHS and attended the event for the day. 

“My favorite part was watching them have fun, seeing them be proud to win their medals, and the joy they got from winning them. They also enjoyed seeing some of their former teachers and working with all of the volunteers,” Mrs. Packer said.

Freshman Logan Lavender took a gold medal, silver medal, and a bronze medal. 

“My favorite part was the 50-meters because this is my favorite event and I got a silver medal, a bronze for throwing frisbee, and a gold medal for long jump,” he said.