Special Olympics

Spartanburg High School students and faculty work together to make a truly special day


Photo by A. Eaton

Katie Reynolds (12), a teacher cadet, helps Jada Nelson (9) before she competes in her event.

George Proctor, Opinion/Editorial Editor

Over the past two years, Spartanburg High School has hosted the Special Olympics event for students from both Cherokee and Spartanburg counties. This program was held on April 18 at Spartanburg High School’s running track, with activities being conducted on both the track itself and the infield. This special event was held with help from the school’s teacher cadet program which aided athletes with the activities and paired up with an athlete to work with them.

Ella Hammond (12) was among the teacher cadets helping in the event and thought that it was a great experience for her and her classmates.

“Watching our buddies shine and have such a special day as athletes was amazing. I really enjoyed seeing their determination and learned how much planning goes into these kinds of events as well as the help and teamwork went along with it,” Hammond said.

The day began with a parade for the athletes walking through the school before exiting to the outside of the building. The hallways were lined with students across the school supporting the athletes as the headed throughout the halls. They then marched towards the track to begin the day’s festivities.

The event had a multitude of different activities of all different sorts for the athletes to choose from. Athletes had the option of participating in traditional track and field events such running and walking events. Athletes could face off against their partners in a soccer shooting activity. The various activities presented made a truly special day for the athletes to remember. Athletes were even offered snow cones to cool them down on the hot day.

Anne Phillips (12) volunteered as a teacher cadet and loved seeing the support and teamwork that the volunteers, athletes and coaches had for one another.

“I could see the kindness in everyone no matter what age they were or what school they were from. I loved that everyone supported each athlete even if they were from a different school,” Phillips said.

Hannah Land is a special education instructor at Spartanburg High School and has had a huge part in the planning of Special Olympics both this year and last year. She loves the program because it brings together diverse groups of students, athletes and volunteers together to, exercise, cheer and support one another.

“My favorite part of the day was definitely the Viking Parade,” Land said. “Seeing the support from our Vikings makes me emotional in a positive way. When our Viking athletes were parading through our campus, all I could think was ‘Wow… We have the best school. I am so lucky.’”