The event, coordinated by Talladega County Central High School teacher and Special Olympics coach Sandra Tuck, marked the first-ever Special Olympics competition held at LHS.
According to Tuck, students ages 8-21 competed in several heats of competition for various events, including the 50-meter dash, 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 100-meter walk, softball throw, standing long-jump and wheelchair races.
“The students love it,” Tuck said. “They live for this event. Several weeks before we start, you can hardly contain these students because they’re so excited to come and compete. Half of them will be getting ready to compete in the state games held in May.”
Munford Middle School student Christopher Bigbee, a first-place winner at the annual state-level competition in the 100-meter walk and the softball throw events two years in a row, competed in both events Tuesday.
Bigbee said he enjoyed competing in the events with his friends.
Vance Russell, an 11th-grader at Munford High School, concurred with Bigbee that the day was fun as he participated in the 100-yard dash event, an event in which he’s taken gold at the state games.
Volunteers assisting with the day’s events included retired teachers, coaches and even some students from LHS.
“It was really fun to watch them enjoy themselves and compete with other teammates,” LHS senior Shelbi White said. “I was really honored to be here because I’m a part of the student leadership team and our principal asked if we could help. I’m honored he chose us to come out and help them.”
Even in the heat of competition, students seemed to rally amongst each other, showing sportsmanship throughout the competition.
Kristen Sloan, parent of 8-year-old Munford Elementary School student Sam Davis, noticed these elements while observing him competing in the softball throw and 50-yard dash for his age group.
“I think he did really well,” Sloan said. “He loves the interaction and being outside playing. It’s a good break from being in the classroom every day. It amazes me because every time one of his classmates did an event, he was patting them on the back and telling them what a great job they did. They all do that with each other. These types of events teach them about sportsmanship and encouraging one another. It’s great thing for them.”
Joseph Edge, a landscaper, attended the event to watch his daughter, Josie Edge, compete in the wheelchair races. Josie won gold medals in the wheelchair race and softball throw events three years in a row at state-level competition.
“All of them did great out here today,” Edge said. “My daughter’s already talking about going back to state.”
Contact Shane Dunaway at firstname.lastname@example.org.