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School District Five high school hosts Young Athletes Expo

For Immediate Release – March 14, 2019



School District Five high school hosts Young Athletes Expo


IRMO- More than 40 special needs students from two Lexington-Richland School District Five elementary schools, jumped, rolled and raced their way to finish lines as part of the fifth annual Special Olympics Young Athletes Expo held at Spring Hill High School on March 13.


“This started as a service project for our Students in Action club five years ago,” said Sherry Stone, Students in Action club sponsor.  “They wanted to do something new and unique for the community and because we have such a close relationship here with our special education students, we decided to do something to benefit special education students in the district.”


Special needs students ages seven and younger were invited from Harbison West Elementary and H. E. Corley Elementary to take part in the expo that ran for three hours.  Spring Hill High students in the Students in Action club led and organized the event, which included sports activities, face painting and opening and closing ceremonies.  The events and games help give the students a preview of what it’s like to participate in the Special Olympics. 


Event organizer and Students in Action club president, Emma Plowden said preparations for the event began last December.  She said while it is a lot of hard work, it is worth it in the end.


“I absolutely love it.  I get to give back to these kids and to see the joy on their faces it is really exciting and thrilling,” Plowden said.


High school students volunteered to assist during the expo, running different stations and also served as buddies to the special needs athletes.  Organizers said the students who volunteer learn empathy and gain insight on the abilities and needs of special needs students.


Stone added, “These students define what it means to be leaders.  Each year they go above and beyond what is expected to provide these young students with an amazing opportunity.  I am so proud of my students and these young athletes who come from all over the district to take part.  We have even had a number of students who volunteered at the expo in years past, go off to college and major in special education.”