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Special Olympics held at Elizabethtown Middle School Thursday; Smiles in Abundance

By Erin Smith
Smiles were in abundance on Thursday at the Elizabethtown Middle School athletic field as the Bladen County Special Olympics were conducted. Students from East Bladen and West Bladen High Schools volunteered their time to make the day a special one for the athletes.
Athletes competed in a soft ball toss, walk/run races, long jump, Bocce, bowling, corn hole, and horse shoes. There was also a magician and face painting as well as an Olympic Village.
Melissa White, whose son Grayson competed in the games, said, “It just does something t your heart.”  She emphasized events like Special Olympics are very important and the community should be more involved.  She said the event is very special to those competing.
It is not only important to those competing. It is also a meaningful day for school personnel and staff as well. Cheryl White-Smith, the Director of Exceptional Children’s Services with Bladen County Schools, said “This is an opportunity for every child to shine. I love these babies.”
Members of Bladen County law enforcement brought the Special Olympics torch to the field and Nicholas Alioto carried the torch around the track and lit the cauldron, officially opening the event.
Lt. D. Cheshire of the Elizabethtown Police Department said, “It is good for all of our agencies to come together for a good cause to help the kids. That’s what al police officers are here for and we appreciate the opportunity to represent our agencies.”
Law enforcement officers form the NC State Highway Patrol, Elizabethtown Police Department, The Bladen County Sheriff’s Office and the NC DMV License and Theft Bureau brought the torch to the athletic field and handed it to Alioto to carry the final distance to the cauldron.
A banner contest was held and theme was “Together We Can.” In the banner contest schools competed against one another for top honors while group homes competed against themselves. Winners among the schools were as follows:
  1. Elizabethtown Middle School
  2. Tar Heel Middle School/Dublin Primary School
  3. Bladenboro Primary School
  4. Bladenboro Middle School
  5. Bladen Lakes Primary School
The winners in the group home category were as follows:
  1. Carolina Home Care
  2. Bladen Community College Comp. Ed.
  3. Monarch Bladen Opportunities Unlimited
  4. Community Innovations
Melissa White, whose son Grayson competed in the games, said, “It just does something t your heart.”  She emphasized events like Special Olympics are very important and the community should be more involved.  She said the event is very special to those competing.
Cheryl White-Smith, the Director of Exceptional Children’s Services with Bladen County Schools, said “This is an opportunity for every child to shine. I love these babies.”
 
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