OPHS hosts Special Olympics

About 38 disabled students from three area schools had a chance to shine in the limelight Tuesday morning, competing in the first ever special olympics at Osbourn Park High School.

The stands at the school’s Albert Crow Sports Stadium were packed through the morning with teenagers cheering on the participants as they ran races, navigated obstacle courses and played soccer under the hot May sun.

Noon became a time of celebration as medals with red, white and blue ribbons were passed out on the edge of the track.

Scott and Brenda Gamache, 47 and 50, were beaming with joy after the event. Their son Richard, 18, had won a relay race earlier in the morning. Richard, who has fragile X syndrome, which often causes mental impairment, had enjoyed himself tremendously, they said

“We’re proud parents,” Scott Gamache said. “We’re really proud of him today.”

Disabled students from Forest Park, Osbourn Park and Osbourn high schools competed in the events, which were the brainchild of Osbourn Park’s student government, led by Shiree Bott, 18, president of the senior class.

Student government members worked with the help of special education teachers to put together the day’s activities. Sophomore class President Megan Wright, 15, who was in charge of the organizing, was glad to see the effort pay off.

“It came together really well,” she said. “And we had a lot of help.”

She was hopeful another event will be staged next year.

As for the question of who won the competitions, Sharon Powell, a teaching assistant from Osbourn, summed up the answer with a single observation.

“Everybody was a winner,” she said.

Staff writer Chris Newmarker can be reached at (703) 368-3101, Ext. 119.