Special needs students from area schools participated in the 4th Annual All-Star Olympics on Thursday, May 8, at the Altus Junior High Track Stadium, enjoying a full day of performing in athletic events and taking home the gold.
Participating schools included Altus High School, Altus Junior High, Altus Intermediate, Sunset, Washington, Will Rogers, Roosevelt, Rivers, Carnegie, Olustee, Hollis, Navajo, Snyder, Eldorado, Granite, Tipton, Mangum, Duke, and Blair.
During the opening ceremony, students and their teachers ran out from under the Altus Bulldog tunnel ready to enjoy a whole day filled with fun events like the long jump, the 50 yard dash, the tricycle race, the wagon pull, the softball throw, roller ball, and the wagon pull.
Ribbons were given to all students at the end of each event whether they placed 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or just participated. At the end of the day, every participant received a medal.
Students also enjoyed activities like the petting zoo, face painting, dunk tank, moon bounce and sumo wrestling. The All-Star Olympics came to a close following the Award Ceremony.
Event organizers Stacy Ogle and Mandy Crisman began the All-Star Olympics 4 years ago through a grant issued by the Altus Schools Foundation. The previous 3 years have been funded by selling t-shirts and concession stand proceeds, as well as community donations.
The event has drawn students from all over Jackson County since it began in 2010.
“The very first year it was just for Altus students only,” said Ogle, the Altus school’s Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant. “We had approximately 50 students who participated. And then each year we just kept growing and inviting new schools. This year we have a total of 19 schools.”
“At the end of the school year all the schools do fun things like field days, and track meets, and our kids get to try to participate in those things, and they have fun, but they just don’t have the opportunity to be successful against kids that are non-disabled,” Ogle said. “So we wanted to give them a chance to feel that they did something great on their own.”
“We just want them to have a good day,” said Crisman, the Altus school’s Speech Pathologist. “That’s all we want.”
Crisman explained that the event is a success because of the help of donations and volunteers. “We work on donations,” Crisman said. “We are very blessed that people donate their time and their things.”
Volunteers included students from Altus High School, AJH, Western Oklahoma State College, and Altus Fire Fighters, Altus Air Force Base.