By Adam Bass-Staff Writer
Cheers of victory and encouragement echoed across North Attleborough High Schoo’s Ray Beaupre Field as students from all of the town’s schools took part in a Special Olympics event.
Approximately 140 athletes diagnosed with a physical or mental disability participated in events including a 100-meter dash, a soccer goal rally, a relay race, and a discus competition.
Students from third graders up to twelfth grade were eligible to compete in the event, held on May 26.
Roberto Lopez, a seventh-grader from North Attleborough Middle School, said his favorite event of the day was the 100-meter dash–-where he finished in first place.
“It felt good to run,” Lopez said. “I’d do it again, sure.”
Calvin Ha, another seventh-grader, also said he loved running in the 100-meter event and enjoyed the other events as well.
“I felt a little nervous at first,” Ha admitted. “I feel good. Tired, but good.”
Additionally, some students from the middle and high school were paired with the athletes as Unified Partners, who also took part in the games and helped organize them.
Margaret Macmanian, an eighth-grade Unified Partner, was responsible for keeping track of time during the 100-meter dash.
“I really enjoyed working with these kids,” said Macmanian. “They are really nice and they are having a lot of fun.”
All participating students were awarded a medal for their accomplishments during a final ceremony.
Meg Camire, the director of student services, said that 17 percent of all students in the district have an identifiable disability. She said the purpose of holding the Special Olympics event was for students to have an opportunity to compete in sports in an inclusive environment and to do so with dignity.
“Part of that comes from our commitment to serving North Attleborough and all students,” she said. “The Special Olympics, in particular, is an opportunity to highlight that inclusive, respectful way we support one another as student-athletes in the North Attleborough community.”
Camire also credited those who were part of the Unified Partners program, particularly their respect for their fellow peers and how they went out of their way to help.
“We have a wide variety of diverse learners,” Camire said. “They wanted to recognize the range of their peers that go to their school.”