Northwest Horizons

It all started with a backyard and a few kids

Photo provided by Dakota Keller from the Winter Olympics of the Northwest high school

Photo provided by Dakota Keller from the Winter Olympics of the Northwest high school

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Northwest OCS kids go every year to Special Olympics. The winter Olympics were before winter break, and the ones in spring are April 27.

“Special Olympics for [special needs] kids gives the opportunity to compete just like any other kid. It allows them to have that competition to show their skill and show that they can do what everyone else can do,” OCS teacher Dakota Keller said.

Keller expresses that this idea lets them go out and just have fun with each other. Special Olympics help out these kids feel that they, too, can do it.

“It’s definitely a humbling experience to watch these kids because of even the ones that are more physically disabled, they work their rear end off, so it’s really good,” Keller said.

In the spring Olympics, there several different sports– not just one or two.

“I know in the past years, we haven’t gone to the winter Olympics every year, but the spring Special Olympics is like the main one where there are multiple different types of sports that they can compete in,” Keller said.

According to Keller, the sport include running, throwing and long jump events.

At Northwest, both classes (OCS classes) go every year. It is not mandatory that every student participate. This year, Northwest has 13 students involved.

“[Also] nine or 12 are going to participate from the skills class,” Keller said.

There are also several volunteers for the Special Olympics. The volunteers could help throwing or running they would be able to help with that.

“[Volunteers help with] the wheelchair race [because] some kids they don’t have the motor powered wheelchairs, so they will have people that will help them,” Keller said.

Special Olympics originated in 1961 when then-president, JFK, went on a path to change the way the world ignored or treated kids with mental disabilities. Specifically, Kennedy’s sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, held this program close to her heart because one of their own in the family had a mental disability. Through the 1960s, Shriver had committed to it not only to help but to also bring out mental disabilities from the dark into the light of public acceptance.

Therefore, in the 1960s, Special Olympics began as a summer day camp that Shriver began in the backyard of their Maryland home. In 1968, they had first International Special Olympics Games at Soldier Field in Chicago. Later that year, the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation incorporated Special Olympics. Now Special Olympics is the most massive program of its kind.

“My kids they are very competitive, my students are, so they like that competition and they will get a little like junk talking to each other, but it’s always just fun and never harmful or anything,” Keller said.

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Northwest Horizons School News
It all started with a backyard and a few kids