A Very Special Event: SIU Hosts Special Olympics

McKenzie Rogman, Sports Editor

Each year SIU hosts a Special Olympics for those who have a special need. This will be the 51st Anniversary of the Special Olympics. Around five million athletes participate in these events every single year. Thousands of people take time out of their day to help set up and participate in all of the events.

When Carterville arrived at SIU, they signed in and received volunteer shirts to put on and wear for the day. Then, every school lined up to be escorted through a tunnel in front of all the people who were there in the crowd. Once every school was through the tunnel, the events began. All around students were cheering and rooting on the athletes and making them all feel very special. The games began and lasted most of the afternoon and included events such as running, softball throw, and more. All of the athletes displayed memorable energy and unforgettable laughter all afternoon. None of us wanted to leave. It is one of the best days out of the whole year.

When asked how, sophomore, Kirsten Jordan, felt about helping with the Olympics this year, she exclaimed, “I felt so humbled to be around all of the dedicated athletes. They showed me what true toughness and passion is, and I want to strive to play with as much heart as they do.” This is Kirsten’s second year helping with the events, and she cannot wait until next year when they are held again. Additionally, junior Charlie Hagan was asked how he felt about the Special Olympics this year and he explained, “Special Olympics has always had a special place in my heart. My mom used to work at Our Directions, a day training center, so I have met some of these athletes before the games. Not only that, but my parents met when they were volunteering at Special Olympics 30 years ago. This year, Special Olympics implemented a few new changes, but they worked really well. I’m super proud of the athletes from Carterville and the rest of the school body for supporting them. This year we had about 75 volunteers from the school and that makes me proud. Congratulations to all athletes involved and good luck next year!”

The students and faculty at Carterville High School encourages everyone to take part in this event at least once in their lives. It is an unforgettable time and an amazing opportunity, and SIU would really love the help. Get out there and do something that may or may not be in your comfort zone. Make those people feel special to you while you are around them by constantly encouraging them, clapping for them, and having many conversations with them. You may just make their week ten times better.