Activity, self-esteem big at Special Olympics

Published 11:15 am Wednesday, March 26, 2014

About 300 special-needs children and adults took part in the Special Olympics at Vicksburg High School Memorial Stadium on Tuesday.

A theme was keeping children active, said area director Pauline Vessel.

“These kids don’t get the chance to participate with regular kids,” she said. “So we do things in our area to insure that they get exercise just like everybody else.”

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The event included representation from Vicksburg, Port Gibson, Bowmar Elementary, Jacob’s Ladder and other schools from the Vicksburg area. The students participated in sporting events such as bocce ball, track and field, throwing softballs and soccer.

Participants who qualifies in track and field or bowling will get a chance to compete in the Keesler games set for May 9-11 at the Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi.

“This is wonderful,” game director Lucy Young said. “This is a fun day for the kids and adults here. The weather is beautiful and everything is going great. This provides athletic events for people who are handicapped and we do everything that this program is designed for.”

Self-esteem is another goal of the event.

“This a way that the kids can shine,” said Emily Williams, a special education teacher at Bowmar Elementary. “These events will bring out the best in them and it will give them a positive attitude about themselves. This is a good chance for them to socialize with others while having a good time,” said Williams.

Student volunteers came out to help with the flow of activities at the games. Vicksburg High School seniors Charlene Figueroa and Faye Quizzagan worked with participants.

“It gives us a chance to make a small but good impact on the kids lives,” said Figoroa. “It makes me happy to do this because it makes them happy. I like to see the smiles on their faces.”

John Plummer, a senior at VHS, felt much the same.

“This is a learning process for me. It is giving me a chance to come out and meet new people and have fun during the day,” said Plummer.

Participants such as Pauline Swan, who won first place in the 50-meter race, were eager to get on the field and show the crowd what they were made of.

“I felt good. I had a lot of fun,” said Swan.

First time participant Eddie Gilmore couldn’t wait to get out there and have some fun.

“I’m looking forward to playing soccer and bocce ball,” said Gilmore.

The Indoor Special Olympic games were held at Warren Central High School in January, when students participated in shooting basketball, dribbling and passing. 032614-special-olympics-js1WEB 032614-special-olympics-js3WEB 032614-special-olympics-js5WEB 032614-special-olympics-js7MAIN