by Anna McFall
With a classroom full of tired students, Carrie Jones had a bright smile and was still energized following the Special Olympics track and field events held at Jack Wood Stadium last week.
Jones is an Exceptional Education Teacher at the Hewitt-Trussville High School, who also coordinated the events held on Oct. 3, marking 2012 the seventh year of the Special Olympics events to take place in Trussville.
“Over the past several years, Trussville has just really rallied around this event and come together as a community,” Jones said. “Every year, I have more people call or email and say ‘how can I be a part of this,’ or ‘how can I volunteer?’”
Jack Wood Stadium was a busy place during the events, as students from 27 school programs participated in the track and field games.
“Students with more moderate to profound disabilities participate in the events,” Jones said.
Students from Vestavia, Mountain Brook, Hoover and Tarrant traveled to Trussville to compete in the events. There were also participants from two adult educational programs in the events
“It’s just a great day for them to come out and shine and to get to show their talents,” Jones said. “It’s a day of awareness, compassion and friendship, and celebration of these amazing athletes who don’t always get their ten minutes in the spotlight.”
The events were challenging to some. Field events included: softball throw, tennis ball throw, javelin and shot put, as well as long jumps. Track events included: motorized wheelchair races, walks, race-walks, a 200-meter dash and 400-meter dash, as well as team relays.
“We had two young men elementary age (that) made the 800-meter runs,” Jones said. “That was just awesome.”
Jones said she is proud to see how much these athletes can accomplish during these games. Even more than that, she knows these games are an inspiration to the community and also serve as a teaching tool.
“It’s a great avenue for these kids to participate in athletic events,” Jones said. “These athletes will have opportunities to compete in other local events and can go on to compete at the area, state, national and world games levels.”