Special Olympics held at Selma High School

Published 11:33 am Saturday, May 6, 2017

Schools across three counties made their way to Selma Friday for the annual Special Olympics. More than 50 athletes from Lowndes County Schools, Wilcox County Schools, Dallas County Schools and Selma City Schools competed in the events.

“Everything we do here today is for the kids,” said Jill Burt, adaptive physical education teacher for Selma City Schools and the Special Olympics coordinator for the area. “They’re all here showing off their talents and everything they’re great at, and we’re here just to support them and have a fun filled day all for them.”

Burt said seeing the smiles on the athletes faces meant everything to her.

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“It means everything. It means all the hours put in and what we all do at our schools is for a purpose and it’s very rewarding for ourselves and also for the kids,” Burt said. “I get more [from Special Olympics] than I can explain. Just watching the races, it puts emotions in me that sometimes it’s even hard for me to hold those emotions back as you see the kids running and smiling and being proud of themselves. I get a sense of pride for them, but it sometimes can be very emotional in a happy way.”

Kevon Tyus, a Selma High School athlete, said his favorite part of Special Olympics is running and “going to the end and winning.”

Tyus participates in the races and relays.

“My favorite part of being here is getting a gold medal at the end of the race,” Tyus said with a big grin on his face. “I go first.”

Tyus said he loves Special Olympics and he wants to continue participating in it.

“It’s very important that the kids get out and participate in these activities because just like everyone, they are very important, they are very talented and they need to be recognized,” Burt said.

“The atmosphere is amazing. This is a day that they deserve every day. They are very, very important to us. They make us smile and we make them smile. This day is for them. They are amazing students and it’s so great to see them have a day that they know is just for them. It’s very, very rewarding for them.”

The events were supposed to take place at Memorial Stadium, but due to the cold weather, they got moved to the Selma High School gymnasium.

Burt said it’s the people behind the scenes that help make the day go as smoothly as it can.

“There has been so much put into this by so many people,” Burt said.

“A lot of times those people get unnoticed, but there are a lot of people that help put this on and we all have the mindset of no matter what the task in front of us is, … those people are team players and I just want to say thank you to them and for all their hard work.”