GUELPH – Crowds of enthusiastic scholar athletes cheered, chattered and laughed in the course of the nineteenth Particular Olympics Monitor and Discipline Day on Might 17.
Youngsters with numerous skills gave it their all as they ran races, tossed balls, and leaped over hurdles at St. James Catholic Excessive Faculty on the chilly however sunny day.
Nearly 500 kindergarten to Grade 12 college students in particular education schemes at colleges throughout the Higher Grand District Faculty Board (UGDSB) and the Wellington Catholic District Faculty Board (WCDSB) participated.
This yr’s motto was “Higher Collectively,” as the college boards haven’t been capable of collect in-person for the Particular Olympics since previous to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group chuckled when Particular Olympics Ontario president and CEO Glenn MacDonell laughed, saying its “arduous to do that over Zoom, isn’t it?”
The sound of bagpipes set the tone for a energetic day as a procession of athletes, academics, households and volunteers paraded alongside a operating monitor on the faculty.
The procession was adopted by the opening ceremony, which included college students reciting O Canada and the athletic oath, each out loud and in American Signal Language (ASL).
After the Godfrey Pigeon Membership launched a flock of pigeons over the gang, the competitions kicked off.
Carter Loos, a Grade 2 scholar at Palmerston Public Faculty, started with basketball, the place he was handed the ball and “threw it within the internet,” profitable his first ribbon, he mentioned.
Carter additionally competed in T-ball and bowling.
His mother, Carla Loos, mentioned she feels hopeful the Particular Olympics will improve Carter’s confidence.
“He’s not very assured relating to sports activities, so being right here, getting cheered on, I hope it brings extra confidence to hitch in,” she instructed the Advertiser.
Carter’s good friend ,Spencer G.H., in Grade 1 at Palmerston Public Faculty, mentioned he additionally competed in basketball, T-ball, and bowling, in addition to monitor and area.
Elora Public Faculty Grade 4 scholar Dawson got here first within the 50-metre monitor race, and mentioned he ran very quick to take action.
He instructed the Advertiser he was feeling nervous for his after-lunch occasion: the operating lengthy leap.
Paisley McKelvey, in Grade 3 at St. John Catholic Faculty in Arthur, did a contented little dance earlier than beginning her 50-metre race.
“I received first place!” she exclaimed, dancing once more as she confirmed her ribbon to the Advertiser.
McKelvey additionally participated within the 100-metre race and the operating lengthy leap.
When requested about competing once more subsequent yr, McKelvey mentioned she doesn’t assume she’s going to as a result of, after an eventful day, she’s feeling “able to retire for a bit.”
Although many athletes current on Might 17 have participated in prior years, this Particular Olympics Monitor and Discipline Day was a primary for Carter, Spencer, Dawson and Paisley.
The Particular Olympics supplies college students a chance to have a good time each other, attain for his or her targets, “and check out one thing new,” mentioned occasion co-chair Andrea Welsh-Devlin.
WCDSB schooling director Michael Glazier mentioned the Particular Olympics supplies a “platform for unity and celebration of every of our particular person presents,” and showcases the athletes’ “arduous work and extraordinary spirit.”