By: Jenna Berg
The Attleboro High School (AHS) 2016 Special Olympics was held last Thursday. This is the 28th annual Attleboro School Day Games, coordinated by AHS teacher and Project Unite leader, Mrs. Rebecca Halsey.
Special Olympics is funded by another popular school event, Polar Plunge- an event where students fundraise money and plunge themselves into the freezing ocean.
Students volunteer from AHS, Bishop Feehan High School (BFHS), and North Attleboro High School (NAHS) to form Project Unite. Volunteers raised money through Polar Plunge and asked friends and family members to sponsor them. All of the money raised funded the Special Olympics
The project is always successful, full of enthusiastic students who are always going all out for the themes during the plunge and games. Project Unite surpassed their goal of $18,000 this year alone with Polar Plunge, but there were also other ways of fundraising; AHS raised money through Senior Assassin, a game where seniors were allowed to eliminate each other with water guns.
Volunteers were required to wear a blue team shirt and to accent their outfits with red and yellow to accommodate the circus theme.
This year, over 650 athletes from 40 different groups participated in the games. There were about 300 hundred volunteers from AHS, BFHS and NAHS. This event was coordinated since September.
Athletes looked forward to this event all year, and the volunteers worked very hard to make it the best day for the participants.
Halsey said that her favorite part was working with the staff, and she loved seeing “the pieces coming together.” The Attleboro Day Games is a huge event that takes a lot of organized effort in order to run smoothly. This year’s event was the largest one yet.
Thursday’s weather was warm and sunny, a great day for the outdoor event. Volunteers arrived early and helped with the setting up. Everyone was festive in their colors with tutus, socks, bandanas, suspenders and clown noses or bow ties.
The parade began and finished before 10 a.m. All the schools and groups were welcomed with a big round of applause. Music was blasting through the speakers, and people were singing along, creating a fun and positive atmosphere.
When the parade finished, the games began. Groups rotated around like a clock. Athletes competed in turbo jav, the softball throw, long jump or any running events such as the hundred meter dash.
Athletes could also go to Olympic Town, an area dedicated to games. Volunteers ran everything such as a dunk tank and face painting. Food was also provided for all participants.
At each event, all the volunteers met the athletes, and were filled with excitement. No one was left behind; everyone who competed was given an award.
AHS sophomore and second time volunteer, Julia Hayes said, “It is wonderful to be a part of an eye opening event.” For the participants, it was very special to see how important the day meant to the athletes.
Abigail DesVergnes, an AHS junior, said her favorite part was the opening ceremony. DesVergnes also liked seeing the kids and how happy they were.
A BFHS student, Brad Nelson, volunteered for his first time this year with friends. He explained his favorite part of the day was “working with the kids.”
Kyle Johnson is an NAHS senior who volunteered and participated in Polar Plunge all four years, and was the awards coordinator the past two years. He felt that the athletes “didn’t always get as much recognition,” which is why his favorite part was awards.
AHS student and project unite coordinator, Hadley Porreca, described the event as “magical.” Porreca wanted to do everything she could to support their one day. All of the work that was put into it, was worth it.
The 2016 annual Attleboro School Day Games was a success. Volunteers are already looking forward to next year’s event.