The Best Day of the Year

The Be Brave, Be Kind motto was embedded in all participants throughout the day. The event was not just about sports. It was a day full of smiles, encouragement, overcoming challenges, athletic competition, support, friendship, and acceptance. From students who served as Olympian buddies to the athletes reaching out to support each other when fear crept in, to track and field events, to students making snow cones, it was the best day ever for all of Banks County.

The day saw over 60 athletes from kindergarten through twelfth grade participate in athletic rotations.

"Athletes rotated through 6 different stations throughout the morning.  Athletic competition events included the 50 and 100-meter dash, standing, long jump, and throwing (softball/shot put). Other activities included an Olympic village where athletes could play carnival games and win prizes, inflatables, and snow cones. This year we also added a sensory station where athletes could participate in calming activities', stated Boswell.

Athletes began the day with celebrations at each school as students lined the hallways to cheer Special Olympians and wish them lunch during the day's events. Students from each school filled the stadiums in anticipation of the opening day activities, which included a parade, a torch run, and a special statement from the Banks County Girls Basketball team (2AA Championship Runner-Up).

Several hundred people attended, including 140 student volunteers, numerous family and friends, and community members, including many businesses, community organizations, and individuals. 

"It was an honor for our team to start the celebration. These Olympians are the heart of our system," said Coach Steven Shedd.

Second-grade students attended the parade and opening ceremony. They supported our athletes and made them feel special by cheering for them! Fifth and eighth grades attended the awards ceremony. Banks County High School students also helped cheer on the athletes throughout the day. 

"It meant so much to athletes and their families to hear the applauding and cheering as each athlete was presented with their medals. We are grateful to the transportation department for making this possible and our administrators' continued support of Special Olympics!"

Boswell commented that the help of "every single person, whether great or small, makes this year's games absolutely perfect! I couldn't begin to name names because I would certainly leave someone out! The support and passion that our school system and community show our athletes year after year are amazing! We are so grateful for everyone that makes our FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR possible".

Banks County Special Olympians head to state games in May with six athletes who will compete in track and field events. 

Boswell stated that athletes have the opportunity to participate at the state level in the following sports: bowling and powerlifting during winter games), bocce during fall games, and track and field during the summer.

Banks County Schools look forward to Special Olympics 2024. If you want to support or donate to the next event, please get in touch with Tondra Boswell at [email protected].