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Peach County aims to be more inclusive with Special Olympics events for all grade levels

It's not the first year Peach County Schools has hosted the Special Olympics, but it is the first time elementary and middle school students can participate.

PEACH COUNTY, Ga. — It’s our favorite day of the week, not only because it’s Friday, but because we get to recognize an A+ school. Peach County High is home of the Trojans and now the Special Olympics, too!

Students and fans filled the seats Thursday in Peach County High's Trojan Stadium while athletes like kindergartener Dewayne Keith and many other Peach County school district students took part in the Special Olympics. 

"I wanna play," exclaimed Keith.

There were many sports and activities for him to choose from like bowling, racing, soccer, tennis, and even his favorite sport... basketball!

Brenda Arnett, the special needs director with the school district, says this is the second year in a row that they've put on this event. But this year, things are a little different.

"We had this last year for high school only, so now we're trying to broaden our events to elementary, middle and high school," said Arnett. 

She says the Special Olympics are very important to the district and all of the students should have the chance to experience them.

"I think it's a great opportunity for these kids to get out and be athletic, just like everybody else in their school. It's such a good program too because it allows the partners to come out and help. I'm telling you it's as good for the partners as it is for the athletes," she said.

Fort Valley State's assistant basketball coach, Lisa Jackson, and her team are one of the partners. She says they're grateful for the experience. 

"I think that there are a lot of differences in this world, but we're all the same at heart. We all bleed red, so I think that at the end of the day, this really helps us out and have fun, and helps us get to know other people outside of our little bubble at FVSU," said Jackson.

"Just getting to hug and squeeze on these kids, that's probably my favorite part of it. They're always so happy and it makes us realize that we're very fortunate for what we have," said Arnett.

Thursday was the kickoff with elementary schoolers. Middle and high schoolers will be back at it Friday.

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