Special Olympics unifies community

The sun rises above the field as the opening ceremony begins, excitement buzzing in the air. Only smiles can be seen as the crowd marches across the track. A voice echoes across the NPHS stadium, “let the games begin.”

The fifth annual Special Olympics hosted by NPHS, specifically with help from the National Honor Society, allowed students the opportunity to assist their peers in a one of a kind event.   

Upon volunteering to help with an athlete, students are given the title of ‘buddies,’ whose responsibility is to accompany their athlete to the events and to ensure they are enjoying their time at the event.

Abby Kilkelly, sophomore, expressed her interest in the event after volunteering to be a buddy, saying, “I just think this whole program in general is a good opportunity for (the athletes) to have fun and it brings everyone else from other schools together.”

The Special Olympics offers each athlete the choice of participating in two different events, including a running event such as the 25, 50 or 100 yard dash, or a field event like the softball throw.

The Special Olympics was made possible with a total of 166 buddies paired with another 166 athletes. Proving that this event truly is a community effort, 19 schools and about 100 other volunteers helped to run the event.

The NPHS Stadium was lined with booths that provided a fun energy outlet for the athletes, hosted by the clubs here at school.

“There was a lot of friendly interaction between everyone and it allowed everyone to meet new people.”, Lisa Liu, Junior and member of NHS said.

Anne Alvarez, one of the co-coordinators of the event and the Special Education teacher at NPHS, describes the positive environment that the event embodies.

“I call it my happy place because there is so many people interacting from different schools interacting with each other… it’s really a lot of energy, a lot of things going on, it’s really a good event,” Alvarez said.

The Special Olympics allowed for the community to band together and create a unique experience for the students and athletes alike.

When looking back at her experience at the event Liu commented, “… It’s almost impossible not to be moved or inspired by all the kids that participate in the games and competitions.”

As the Special Olympics athlete oath states,“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

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