More than 80 participants take part in Special Olympics

Published 6:30 pm Friday, March 22, 2019

Tamarianna Moore was one of the more than 80 competitors at the Special Olympics Friday at the Valley Community Center, and it was clear she had as much fun as anyone who participated.

Not only did Moore win several ribbons for running, she also got to carry the torch around the gymnasium as part of the opening ceremonies.

“She picked me,” Moore said of LaFayette High School teacher Dawn Tindell.

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Moore wasn’t the only person who was all smiles Friday, in fact, just about everyone seemed to be having a good time. The competition included several running events, such as the 50-meter and 100-meter dash, ball throws and also several featuring jumping and walking.

“I think it’s the opportunity to compete and try to showcase the athletes. We get tremendous support from the community, from our schools,” said Diane Sherriff, special education director for the Chambers County School System. “Our kids are excited for it. They train for it during the school year, so they are very excited to come out here and compete.”

Tindell said she decided to become a special education teacher after volunteering at Special Olympics during high school. She’s been a teacher for 27 years now.

“This is their day. This is the day that they look forward to,” she said. “This is their area championship — this is what we train for and talk about.”

Many of the teachers said Special Olympics is a day students talk about all year long.

“I think what makes it so special to me is what it means to them,” said April Dark, an instructor at Eastside Elementary. “A lot of times they are the underdogs in a sense in the activities they participate in. This is something for them to shine and feel proud of themselves about.”

Students from Chambers County Schools, Lanett City Schools and Valley Haven participated in Friday’s Special Olympics. Participants had to be 8 years of age or older and had to have a developmental or physical disability.