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Special Olympics set for Friday

Some very special athletes will take the field at Tiger Stadium Friday as part of the Butler County School System’s Special Olympics.

“Children are simply amazing and a blessing,” said Willie Thornton, special education services coordinator for the Butler County School System.

“The Special Olympics is a time when the kids come together and choose from different activities to participate in, and they work really work hard to achieve their goals.”

The Special Olympics began in the early 1960s, when Eunice Kennedy Shriver saw how unjustly and unfairly people with intellectual disabilities were treated. She decided to take action.

Soon, her vision began to take shape, as she held a summer day camp for young people with intellectual disabilities.

The goal was to learn what these children could do in sports and other activities — and not dwell on what they could not do. This vision eventually grew into the Special Olympics.

On Friday, students from W.O. Parmer Elementary School, Greenville Elementary School, Greenville Middle School, Greenville High School, Georgiana School and McKenzie School will compete. Also, for the first time ever, students from the Conecuh County public school system will be competing.

Thornton encouraged community members to come out and cheer the athletes on.

“This is truly a community event,” he said. “It’s a day that is enjoyed by all, from the participants to the spectators. If you’ve never had an opportunity to come out and watch the Special Olympics, I encourage you do to so. You’ll be glad you did.”

The games will kick off at 8:30 a.m.