More than 200 students from eight school districts across western Massachusetts competed in Special Olympic games on Northampton’s football field Monday.
The international competition, which is modeled on the Olympic Games, gives people with intellectual disabilities ways to discover new strengths, abilities, and success.
This was the first year students with and without intellectual disabilities were able to compete on the same team.
“Having it here, having it in an inclusive manner with students with and without disabilities competing together, it makes the entire high school atmosphere inclusive,” John Scully from Special Olympics Massachusetts said. “They see each other in the halls and it becomes a friendship because when they play together they can be friends forever.”
The Special Olympics mission is as vital today as it was when it was first founded back in 1968. Parents 22News spoke with say they love to see events like this still happening in their community.
“It’s just nice because it feels like everyone belongs and its great for parents to connect with each other.” Deerfield parent, Lisa Keller said. “We all feel isolated a lot of times and it’s a great event to all get-together and have fun and cheer for our kids.”
Event organizer’s said the event saw roughly 100 students participating last year. However, that number grew to more than 200 this year.