The event kicked off with a welcome from Sulphur Springs Independent School District Superintendent Michael Lamb and special recognition.
“We’re excited to have you here. We wish all of you the best of luck. Go get ‘em today,” Lamb said to all athletes involved in the Special Olympics.
A special highlight of the event was the presentation of Sulphur Springs High School alumni, 12 individuals who represented SSHS at Special Olympics meets spanning the last 29 years. Alumni honorees included: Tracy Steele, class of 1984; Anthony Fisher, class of 1988; Gregory Woods, class of 1995; Lonnie Allen, class of 1998; Kandie Redding, class of 2001; Jordan Sutton, class of 2004; Andy “Doc” Powers, Martha Thompson and Catalina Torres, class of 2007; Joshua Sells, class of 2009; Jeremy Mitchell, class of 2011; and Christopher Jacks, class of 2012.
The alumni led the parade of athletes, which included students representing the Commerce Tigers, Como-Pickton Eagles, Emory-Rains Wildcats, North Lamar Panthers, Paris Wildcats, Wood County SSA Warriors, Clarksville Tigers and the SSISD Wildcats. Sulphur Springs schools represented included Bowie and Lamar Primary schools, and Sulphur Springs Elementary, Middle School and SSHS.
Hopkins County Military Coalition presented the flags. Three Sulphur Springs athletes assisted during the flag ceremonies and openings. SSHS athlete Roy Taylor recited the pledge to the American flag, SSHS athlete Kason Wimberly the pledge to the Texas flag and SSMS athlete Allison Vaughn sang the national anthem.
SSHS coach Kailey Bowman gave the invocation, and Iris Ortiz the Special Olympics oath: “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
SSISD Director of Special Services Kay McClure acted as officiant, officially calling the start of competition.
Students then participated in a number of track and field events. Leading off the competitions were the 10 meter and 25 meter assisted walk events, and the 10 meter, 25 meter and 100 meter wheelchair events. Male and female track events included a 50 meter walk, 50 meter dash, 100 meter walk, 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash, 400 meter walk and 400 meter run. Field events included shot put, javelin throw, ball throw for distance, high jump, standing jump and running long jump. A 400 meter relay immediately followed all track and field events. Each student received recognition for their participation. Lunch was provided as were goodies to remember the day.
Several businesses and individuals pitched in and made contributions to ensure the day was a success, including Alliance Bank, Clayton Homes, Creations by Joyce, City National Bank, Circle A Ranch, Dial Study Club, Grocery Supply Co., Guaranty Bond Bank, Echo Publishing, Edward Jones-Mike Ream, Kiwanis Noon Club of Sulphur Springs, SSHS Key Club, M&F Manufacturing Co., Northcutt Donuts, Ocean Spray, Performax Trailers, Pilot Club of Sulphur Springs, Sonic of Sulphur Springs, Southwest Dairy Museum, Sulphur Springs AutoLube, Sulphur Springs Athletic Booster Club, Sweet Frog and Kim King in memory of Adam King.
Special thanks were also offered by sponsor SSHS staff to the the Sulphur Springs Middle School sixth and seventh grade Student Council members and eighth grade cheerleaders, and to SSHS Key Club, band, Business Professionals of America and National Honor Society members, who served as buddies to the athletes and helped staff the meet.
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