Archived Stories for Union County Public Schools
Special Olympics showcases UCPS students
About 165 Union County elementary students â€œshowed their stuffâ€ Thursday, (May 27, 2010), during this yearâ€™s UCPS Special Olympics held on the ball field of Porter Ridge High School.
Thursdayâ€™s event was the precursor to Fridayâ€™s Special Olympics, which will feature middle and high school students. Porter Ridge High School has hosted the UCPS Special Olympics since 2008.
â€œEverything is going very well,â€ said Deanna Nardell, a teacher at Porter Ridge High School and an event organizer. â€œYou want everything to run smoothly, but as great as you think youâ€™ve planned for everything, the key is to be flexible.â€ Nardell added that the two-day event took between six to eight months in the making.
The elementary school event featured 25 field events and 25 race events, said Bill Oâ€™Connor, the Special Olympics coordinator. In order to participate in the games, Oâ€™Connor said a student has to have a cognitive disability.
When you add up all the student, school and community volunteers, Oâ€™Connor said between 600 and 700 individuals helped make the event a success. â€œThe Porter Ridge Interact students are the ones behind the scenes running everything,â€ Oâ€™Connor said.
Thursdayâ€™s elementary school competitions featured help from about 165 high school students who came from around the county. The students were partnered with the young athletes as their â€œbuddy.â€
After each event, students were awarded their medals in an impromptu ceremony held on the sidelines.
Fridayâ€™s Special Olympics showcases the talents of UCPS middle and high school students, who will be â€œbuddiedâ€ with Porter Ridge High School student volunteers. There will also be some adult participation in the games from area group homes, Oâ€™Connor said. Fridayâ€™s event features almost 300 athletes from UCPS middle and high schools and the community.
Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe
Posted: May 28, 2010 by Ms. April Dawkins