ACS, PCS students compete in Special Olympics

Published 2:17 pm Monday, March 27, 2023

By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

ALABASTER – Alabaster City Schools and Pelham City Schools recently partnered together for a day of competition and fun as Thompson High School hosted the two school systems’ annual Special Olympics.

ACS and PCS held a Unified Track and Field event at THS on Wednesday, March 15. The two school systems have partnered annually to hold Special Olympics events together for the last eight years since separating from the Shelby County school system.

“We called our event Unified Track and Field Day as we bring together the two school systems to be unified in their efforts to do their best and be unified in being able to participate in track and field events to the best of their abilities,” said Lisa Radcliff, exceptional education and 504 supervisor for ACS.

Pelham City Schools brought approximately 40 athletes with them to the event, and Alabaster City Schools had approximately 60 athletes at the event.

“The focus on our event is the joy of the events and the sport of track and field and to focus on what our athletes can do and not what they can’t,” Radcliff said. “Attention to their disabilities fades away and lets us focus on their abilities, joy and being successful.”

Mason Messer of THS recited the motto to start the event, “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Noah Humphreys of TMS and Alayna Holifield of TIS sang the national anthem for the event’s opening ceremony.

“It gives the athletes confidence in their ability to be a winner and demonstrate their talents for all the families, school representatives and community representatives that come to watch,” Radcliff said.

United Track and Field Day was organized by ACS Adaptive P.E. Teacher Karen Evans with assistance from Pelham Park Middle School Teacher Jessica Brown.

“Karen had the day very organized from start to finish with track events for all student-athletes as well as field events,” Radcliff said. “Peer helpers, including Thompson High School’s Project Outreach students and the THS track team assisted the athletes with their various events throughout the day as peer helpers.”

Pelham City Schools had 60 participants attend this year’s track and field activities.

“I think everything ran pretty smoothly,” Brown said. “The kids seemed to have a blast.”

Around 50 Peer Buddies from PCS were present to help assist with the activities.

“It’s a great opportunity for the kids to be able to participate in something,” Brown said. “It’s a good opportunity for them to be able to have the chance to be able to give back and help others and be a good teammate.”

PCS Student Markel Washington had the opportunity during the event to do a torch run for the opening ceremonies.

Ribbons and medals for the different events for distributed to students at the end of the track and field day.

“The student-athletes were so excited to get their ribbons and medals for their different events and were excited to show them to the peer helpers, and community leaders and get their pictures made,” Radcliff said. “It was a beautiful day that started off chilly but warmed up and the athletes had a great time participating and hanging out with the peer helpers from their schools.”

Both the Alabaster Police Department and Alabaster Fire Department were present at the event to cheer on the athletes.

“We had a great time joining the Alabaster Police Department cheering on the athletes in the joint Alabaster City Schools and Pelham City Schools Special Olympics this morning at Thompson High School,” read an official Facebook post by the AFD. “We’re proud of all the athletes, and we’re honored to have this event in our city.”

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