On your marks, get set, go!
Special Olympics Edgecombe County is holding its annual spring games today at the SouthWest Edgecombe High School stadium.
More than 60 participants from various grade levels in the Edgecombe County Public Schools will compete in 11 track and field events starting at 10 a.m. and continuing until 1 p.m. Events include standing broad jump, tennis ball throw, 50m dash and 100m dash.
“It (the athletic activities) gives them a sense of belonging to the community and a sense of accomplishment,” Charlotte Privott, local program coordinator, said.
Privott, a retired Edgecombe educator of more than 30 years, has been involved with the county’s Special Olympics for several years. This year, for the first time, she organized the event with the help of local volunteers.
The local program is a part of the worldwide Special Olympics, which was established in 1968. She said it is a very important event to her because it brings the community together.
“Its special, because you get the total involvement of the community,” Privott said. “Not only the parents and the students, but also you get organizations involved to give donations. It's a total community involvement.”
Activities associated with the event are divided into the developmental, lead-up and wheelchair and traditional categories. Other activities include games, face painting and music.
Ribbons are awarded to competitors in first through eighth place in each event.
“I have high expectations for each athlete to excel in whatever that they do,” Privott said. “In doing that, they will be living out the Special Olympic motto, ‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.’”
The ultimate goal that she holds dear to her heart is to have Edgecombe County’s Parks and Recreation Department take over the event.
“We want not only the children in school, but people that are in group homes and other facilities to be involved with these activities through Special Olympics,” Privott said. “When we get the Parks and Recreation involved, it will be a complete Edgecombe County Special Olympics.”
The state Special Olympics is one of the largest programs of its type in the world with more than 38,000 registered athletes who train and compete in year-round programs.
The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities according to the Special Olympics North Carolina website.