Special Olympics 2016: Project Unify | Sports | The Press and Standard

by | April 16, 2016 5:00 am

Last Updated: April 13, 2016 at 4:45 pm

‘Courage with fear, respect without limits, acceptance without
question…a world unified’

By CINDY CROSBY
cindyc4@yahoo.com

The Colleton County Special Olympics were held Friday April 8 at Colleton County Middle School Track and Field.  With approximately 300 athletes and 200 volunteers in attendance, the Area 8 annual event was centered around Project Unify, an initiative which promotes acceptance and inclusion for special needs students.
According to Colleton County Special Olympics Director Becky Hooker, that initiative is a project that both Colleton County High School and Colleton County Middle School are just beginning. “We are hoping to see this initiative continue to grow,” said Hooker. “Honestly, our regular education students are already very supportive, so we have a great foundation to build upon, as evidenced in the interaction with our athletes in today’s events.”
Following a long-standing tradition, the Walterboro Police Department and Colleton County Sheriff’s Department opened the ceremonies by running in the torch.
During opening ceremonies, the Colleton County High School NJROTC presented the colors. Student Kalin Teasdale sang the National Anthem and Eric Campbell gave the opening prayer. Kim Bryant, director of special services, recited the Special Olympics’ Oath with the Olympians.
The 2016 Hall of Fame Award was presented to retired educator Laura Bullock, who is currently serving as a teacher mentor within the district. NAIFA presented the Ambassador Award to Valerie Long, a student in Ms. Walter’s class at Bells Elementary.
Bryan McCollum was the master of ceremonies for the day, along with Debi Price, who served as the D.J.
The Olympics provided fun and competitive athletic events, throughout the day, for the preschoolers, school-age children and adults with special needs. Some of the more popular events included the 50-meter dash, 100-meter dash and walk, 100-meter assisted walk, 100-meter wheelchair race and the softball throw.
The Cougar Cheerleaders returned with the ever-popular face painting. “Olympic Town,” a new area with games and prizes, was run by the sophomore and junior classes from Colleton Prep. Living Word Church provided a large inflatable slide which was also very popular.
Colleton County High School Student Government Advisor Becky Goodwin coordinated the many student volunteers who directed the events and served as escorts for the classes.  The Elks Lodge coordinated lunch for the Olympians and volunteers, along with providing water. The Civitans provided the T-shirts, which promoted the Unify slogan.
“A special thanks to everyone who helped with today’s events,” said Hooker. “We had a wonderful event thanks to the support from so many in our community including our hard-working teachers, coaches, assistants and student volunteers. Our athletes had great attitudes and showed tremendous effort throughout the day. It was, indeed, a unified effort.”

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