SPECIAL OLYMPIANS HAVE THEIR DAY
from the April 27, 2012 "The Daily Southerner"
For many of us in Edgecombe County, the fifth day of the week was just that — another day and another work day.
But for dozens and dozens of children and young adults with intellectual disabilities, it was anything but.
That’s because it was their day … the day they got to take to the track and field at SouthWest Edgecombe High School and compete in the Special Olympics of Edgecombe County.
It was their day.
And on their day, they ran and jumped and threw — and earned recognition for their efforts from a crowd made up of family, friends, volunteers and the colorful clown corps of the SouthWest Edgecombe Air Force JROTC.
Members of the Golden K Kiwanis of Tarboro manned the track, starting the races and picking the finishers, and everyone with a voice cheered on the competitors — especially those who might have been struggling a bit to finish.
“C’mon, Ethan! You can do it! Run fast,” one of the clowns yelled as a group of the youngest competitors raced down the track. It was only moments earlier that she had read his name tag, but there she was, helping cheer him on to what would become a blue ribbon-earning win.
As Ethan headed off the track, his smile filled his entire face and his grin was full of teeth as he proudly held his ribbon. A short while later, he was able to tell a loved one about his victory via cell phone.
“I won. I got the blue ribbon,” he said excitedly.
If one were to really watch after the races, they would see the real story of Special Olympics and why these athletes really are special. In their world, they were all winners. There were hugs and high fives, low fives and cheers as each competitor not only celebrated their experience, but those of their friends, too.
Greg Pierce has talked about Special Olympics for weeks, inviting all who would listen to come see he and his brother, Craig, compete.
On Thursday, Greg and Craig led the Parade of Athletes, following directly behind the Color Guard of Col. Mike Whitehurst’s AFJROTC unit and in front of all the other athletes.
As the parade came to a stop and the Color Guard turned to face the bleachers, Quan Jenkins sang the National Anthem, which was followed by the Athlete’s Oath, led by Christian Jones.
It’s a simple, but straightforward oath … one that would serve many others in addition to the Special Olympians, if only they would listen to and follow its 15 words:
“Let me win,
“But if I cannot win,
“Let me be brave in the attempt.”
After Christian led everyone in the oath, master of ceremonies Dave Sharp pronounced the games to be open.
It was about half way through the schedule when Tarboro mayor Donald Morris took a break from marshalling competitors to the track to watch a race or two from the infield.
“You know,” he said, “when you get down to it, this is what life is really all about … helping others and putting a smile on a face or two.”
Yes, you can cut taxes and you can build buildings, but putting a smile on a face … and in a heart … and allowing a bit or normalcy into what might be a not-so-normal life is what life — and Special Olympics — is really all about.
SOUTH EDGECOMBE STUDENTS BEAUTIFY SCHOOL'S CAMPUS
The students at South Edgecombe
Middle School planted
flowers and cleaned up their campus Monday, April 23 not only to celebrate
Earth Day, which occurred that Sunday but also to make their campus looks its
best for the upcoming accreditation visit.
South Edgecombe is one of the six schools chosen to be visited by
the Accreditation team next week, which will be visiting April 30 through May
2. The team is made up of six members, three from North Carolina and three from out of state.
During their visit, the team will tour the school
campuses and also speak with staff, teacher, students, parents and community
The other schools to be visited by the team, which
was created by AdvancEd, are G.W. Bulluck Elementary, North Edgecombe High,
Phillips Middle, Stocks Elementary and Tarboro High.
The visit will end May 2 at 2:30 p.m. following a
media briefing and oral exit report which will be attended by the Board of
Education, ECPS executive staff and principals.
ECPS SOCIAL WORKERS FOCUS ON HOMELESS STUDENT RIGHTS ACT
The Edgecombe County Public Schools social workers,
Carol Cobb, John Cooper and Shannon Hamm are working to eliminate barriers to
student success and close the achievement gap for students considered homeless.
By education parents and teachers on the
McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, ECPS social workers are
ensuring that every homeless student is given the same opportunities as a
Students classified as homeless are not just children
without a home, they are students who live in a shelter, motel, vehicle, campground,
or even doubled up with friends or relatives because housing is unaffordable.
The McKinney-Vento Act assures that homeless children
have the right to attend school and continue in the school they attended before
rendered homeless no matter where they live. The act also states that the
students should receive transportation to school and attend school and
participate in programs with children who are not homeless.
ECPS identified 125 students as homeless in Feb.
2012, which is a higher number compared to the approximately 119 homeless
students counted at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.
PRINCEVILLE ELEMENTARY WINS 2012 SPRING QUIZ BOWL
Teams from G.W. Bulluck, G.W. Carver, Coker-Wimberly, Pattillo and Princeville Elementary Schools competed in the spring Quiz Bowl tournament today at G.W. Bulluck Elementary School with Princeville Elementary School taking home the traveling trophy.
Students challenged each other in ten rounds of trivia questions which they answered in rapid fire style with buzzers and a giant score pad displayed behind them.
Students answered questions about subjects ranging from literature and history to science and math.
The Princeville team included Jyron Albritton, Jasmine Anderson, Kiaira Carter, Susana Contreras-Blanco, Bricen Duff, Zyniã Grant, Jamari Johnson, Jo’Quinta Kearney, LaKeem McLean and Bryson Parker.
SWE AVID STUDENTS TAKE EDUCATIONAL TOURS IN ITALY & FRANCE
Eight students from SouthWest Edgecombe High School returned from a trip to Rome, Florenceand Paris Sunday, April 15 not only with jet lag and luggage full of souvenirs but with tons of knowledge gained from several tours throughout their trip.
The students left Raleigh for Rome Sunday, April 8 and landed in Rome Monday morning where they were met by Fabio, their tour guide from Education First Tour. As soon as they got their luggage the group embarked on a tour of Central City where they saw the Fountain of Four Rivers and the Brazillian Embassy in the Piazza Novana, along with the Pantheon. Their educational tour of Rome continued the next two days where they enjoyed a guided excursion through theVatican City and the Sistine Chapel along with a trip to the Roman Forum and Coliseum. The group also saw the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and St. Peter’s Square.
Following their trip to Rome, the students boarded a bus to Florence where they learned about the Florence Baptistery, Duomo Cathedral and Giotti Bell Tower. With their tour guide, they walked through Florence seeing the famous statue of David and the statue of the Florentine Boar, which they rubbed for good luck.
The group then boarded a bus to Milan where they took the night train to Paris, arriving the next morning and immediately beginning a walking tour of the city. The guide took the students through the Opera district and on to the Lourve during the day while the enjoyed a guided riverboat tour of the city at night after seeing the beautiful Eiffel Tower. The group continued their stay in Paris the following day and enjoyed seeing the Arc de Triomphe, the Place de la Concorde and the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Edmondson plans another trip for students for next spring break to London and Paris through EFTours which will first be open to AVID students only, followed by any interested students.
K-CST SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS CHOSEN
A group of judges met Thursday April 26 to interview
the 16 candidates from Edgecombe County Public Schools, four from each high
school, and chose the one grand winner, three second place winners and nine
third place winners of the 2012 Keihin Carolina System Technologies
Elizabeth Sharpe from SouthWest Edgecombe
High School was chosen as
the grand winner of the $4500 scholarship. Sharpe, who was the first runner-up
for the Tarboro-Edgecombe Junnior Miss Scholarship program in 2011, will attend
North Carolina State University
in the fall and major in International Studies. Sharpe strives to use her degree
as she travels the world helping others, she told judges that she was
exceptionally inspired by Blake Mycoskie
who started Tom’s shoes, a company that mathces every pair of shoes purchased with
a pair of new shoes given to a child in need.
Brooks Parrisher, Robert Warren and Taylor Webb from SouthWest Edgecombe High School
were each awarded $1000 scholarships.
Cameron Griffin was chosen as the Edgecombe Early
School $2500 scholarship winner. Griffin
will attend High Point
University in the fall
and major in Psychology. Griffin
hopes to continue his education by earning both a master’s and doctorate degree
before becoming a psychiatrist.
The $2500 scholarship recipient from North Edgecombe is Jasmine Downing. Downing will attend Elizabeth City State University in the fall where she will
play basketball and begin pursuing her career goal of being a high school
From North Edgecombe,
Morris Armstrong, De’Ajree Branch and Brianne Davis were chosen as the $1,000
Mallory Byrum was selected as the $2500 scholarship
recipient at Tarboro
High School. Bryum will Meredith College in the fall and plans to major
in either Biology or Chemistry with the intent to become a nurse practitioner.
Kaitlyn Flythe, Tiffany Fowler and Timothy Harrell
were chosen as the $1000 scholarship winners from Tarboro High School.