On May 23rd, the Cortland Special Olympics Team traveled to North Syracuse to participate in the regional games which has become an annual tradition and celebration. The Cortland team joined more than 850 students from school districts around the region including Baldwinsville, Chittenango, East Syracuse Minoa, Fayetteville-Manlius, Jamesville-DeWitt, Liverpool, Lyncourt, Marcellus, North Syracuse, OCM BOCES, Solvay, and West Genesee.
Sending off the Special Olympics Athletes in style, music teacher Steven Russell directed the High School Band to play, “Eye of the Tiger.” The Athletes then walked through a tunnel formed by the band and cheering High School students to get on the bus. This send off was the only the beginning of a very special day!
Once students traveled north on 81 and arrived at Cicero North Syracuse High School, they quickly lined up for the Parade of Athletes. Cortland marched in this parade in their purple “Cortland Athletics” t-shirts and held the Cortland sign with pride. The parade was similar to the opening ceremony of the Olympics and even had a fire truck with display the American flag for the National Anthem. As teams marches displaying their school colors and name, parents and fans cheered as their favorite team walked by.
After the parade, the competition began! Students competed in various events including the standing long jump, running long jump, 50m dash, 100m dash, and 200m dash. Field games were also available such as parachute games, bowling and handball. Students lined up by age group and all of the competitions were done with a smile!
Cortland High School PE teacher Lara Discenza said, “It is amazing to be part of such a wonderful event. The number of athletes and supporters keeps growing! Every person involved comes away with a positive experience.” Lara has been preparing the students for this event in her adaptive PE class she teaches. “Watching the students get better each day makes it even more fulfilling for me.”
Special education teacher Amy Parker said, “Students and staff all look forward to the Special Olympics. The event gives every student a chance to shine. They love to come back to the high school and show off all of their ribbons. What an awesome day!”
The Special Olympics games promote fitness, coordination and cardiovascular improvement. Additional benefits include self-confidence, discipline and self-esteem.