Special Olympics Comes to Levy County
Submitted by Pamela J. Thompson, M.Ed.
SBLC Teacher of the Visually Impaired
On May 6, 2016, the School Board of Levy County hosted their first Special Olympics in more than 20 years. Dr. Rosalind Hall, Director of ESE and Student Services, and other ESE staff, worked closely with Cherie Cain, Regional Director of Special Olympics Florida, to organize the event, which included approximately 40 participants. Athletes from Bronson Elementary and Bronson Middle/High School participated in various dashes and metered races. There was shotput, a softball throw and standing and running long jumps. Because this was the first year, it was started with only 2 schools competing.
Students in the Motor Activities Training Program, known as MATP, also participated. These events are separate from the sanctioned Special Olympics and are geared toward the more physically- and cognitively-challenged students. Their events included a log roll, bowling and bat the ball.
The event was held at Williston High School, as neither Bronson school has track facilities. The event began with the traditional parade of athletes and the torch run, which was taken around the track by the athletes. The Williston High School JROTC was instrumental in helping put up tents, tables and chairs on the day of the Olympics. The WHS Cheerleaders opened the concession stand for everyone and it was enjoyed by many.
Families and friends of the athletes came out to cheer for their loved ones. Students from Joyce Bullock Elementary School and Williston High School took time out from class to come see the athletes compete. Through the cooperation of the school’s staff, administrators and students, everyone had a great time. The athletes were proud of their accomplishments and awards and couldn’t stop smiling! Special Olympics Florida, along with the School Board of Levy County, hope to include all schools next year. Let the games begin!
Bronson Elementary Students Become Little Farmers
The Bronson Elementary Head Start Class learned more than their p’s and q’s this year. They planted a garden under the tutelage of teachers and master gardeners to learn where their food comes from, harvest it, and even eat it. These students were wonderfully shown that the ground yields up a bounty of good food and the name of the ground is NOT “grocery store.” This invaluable education process only furthers the Levy Lifestyle of respecting our farmers and ranchers who provide healthy food for our tables as well as start a new generation for the future of farming.