102 young athletes ranging from pre-k to sixth grade with a variety of personal challenges showed great prowess and excitement in the Rahway Special Olympics.
RAHWAY – Egg races! Parachute fun! Pin the clothes on the line! Scooter runs!
Young athletes — 102 of them — ranging from pre-k to sixth grade with a variety of personal challenges showed great prowess and excitement in these and similar activities at Rahway’s Recreation Center on Friday, May 20.
With Rahway High School students and cadets from the Marine Corps Junior ROTC program on hand to support them, the young competitors were enthusiastically cheered on by Rahway’s Mayor Samson Steinman, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Patricia Camp, district school principals, supervisors and public workers.
The event, organized and run for the last 12 years by Rahway High School (RHS) teacher Trish Williams, was created to allow these special athletes from Roosevelt and Madison Schools to enjoy a day of competition free from prejudice based on their disabilities.
Williams said, “Since there are no similar programs in town for them, this is the closest many of them get to being on a sports team.”
Among the over 30 community sponsors for the event were the Rahway Education Association, Century 21 JRS Realty, RSI Insurance and the Rahway Dept. of Public Works. T-shirts, goodie bags and promotional giveaways for each athlete and volunteer were donated.
Former and current board members, along with RHS alumni, provided lunch for 200 people. Pepsico provided all beverages for the event.
Williams said, “Without our community’s support, this yearly program could never take place. All these gifts assure that no additional financial burden would be placed on our Board of Education.”
“To watch the compassion, caring and encouraging attitudes from the RHS students was a privilege for me to see,” said Guidance Counselor Nicole Gleason, who photographed the athletes’ activities. “To witness everyone working together to create such an amazing atmosphere filled with laughter and fun made me feel so proud to be part of something much bigger.”
Junior Sephora Delice said, “It was an unforgettable experience. Seeing how happy the kids were really made my heart feel full.”
Master Sgt. Mintz said, “Ms. Williams should be recognized for her enthusiasm, her dedication and her sense of caring for our special-needs Olympians. All the kids did an amazing job in keeping their young competitors enthusiastic and totally involved.”