Working with Rome-Floyd Parks & Recreation Authority, Darlington School’s freshman class hosted the Floyd County Special Olympics for about 265 Special Olympians on the school’s campus yesterday.
“I don’t remember seeing any athlete, volunteer, or spectator without a smile on their face. It amazed me how easy it was for the kids to put on a smile, whether they came in first place or sixth. To see these kids having fun made me happy as well as the other volunteers at my station,” Darlington’s Sam Tackeberry observed.
All 87 Darlington freshmen helped with events ranging from — athletic events, concessions, to food preparation, and, most importantly, cheering and support of the Olympians.
Russell Shealy donned the Darlington Tiger mascot costume; “I got to be the Darlington Tiger and help serve lunch. The athletes and their families really enjoyed hanging out with our mascot. It was a new experience for me and I had to get comfortable with my surroundings at first, but I definitely want to do it again next year. The kids were so fun to be around.”
For Darlington freshmen, the day provided an opportunity to give back, a respite from academics, and a chance to see things a little differently — to gain perspective.
The joyousness of the event caught Darlington freshman, Enuma Anekwe-Desince; “There is a certain joyous spirit surrounding all of Darlington’s events, but it was especially evident at this year’s Special Olympics. The entire day, I never saw a frown and everyone was genuinely happy to be giving back to their own community. It was precious,” she observed.
To my mind though, this reflection of ‘Thanks’ by Darlington freshman Emily Edwards best captures the event and its effect on the Darlington community.
“My favorite part was how happy everyone at the event was, regardless of whether they were a volunteer or a participant. No one cared if they got a first place ribbon or a second place one, as long as they got a high five and had someone cheering them on. The joy and the community feel were what made this event so special to me. It’s events like these that make Darlington such a special place, and I am so thankful to have been able to participate in it,” Emily Edwards observed.
When a young high school student talks about an event capturing joy, service, and thanks you know as faculty member and parent that something good, and right, has occurred.