Special needs students are stars in Valdosta - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Special needs students are stars in Valdosta

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Special needs students were star athletes in Valdosta this week.

The Special Olympics ended Thursday with basketball games.

Friends are competing against each other in individual basketball skill contests.

"I like to dribble, dribble the ball," said participant Nathaniel Price, "I'm here with my team right now."

After perimeter shooting, dribbling, and accuracy throwing, participants got ribbons. At the Mildred Hunter Community Center Thursday, everyone was a winner.

"Our therapeutic department with the Parks and Recreation Authority actually provided adaptive physical education classes to the city and county schools," said Tammy Crosby, Local Special Olympics Coordinator.

Area 15 Local Special Olympics includes eight counties.

Through this event, special needs kids are given the opportunity to compete in sports. The students train all year long in P.E classes at their schools.

Volunteers from VSU, Moody Air Force Base and surrounding high schools helped. They gave handshakes to kids and cheer them on.

"We have approximately 88 volunteers so without their support we couldn't have done it," said Crosby.

For some volunteers like Taylor Tabb, it's their first year.

"I think that helping them gives them more self confidence in themselves, said volunteer Taylor Tabb. "It gives them a lot of happiness."

Others have donated their time to the cause for decades.

"It brings a lot to a person's heart to come out here and volunteer and how happy these kids are and how cheerful they are when they see you out here," said David Earp, Knights of Columbus.

About half way through the day teams competed in a basketball tournament.

"I've been doing great, since I enjoy it," said participant Aarin Wright.

170 students participated in this year's basketball games.

The next opportunity for those eight and up to compete in are the State Indoor Olympic Games in Marietta this January.

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