DASD hosts Special Olympics

Downingtown High School West athletes and volunteers cheer on their classmates

Last week, Downingtown Area School District (DASD) hosted the Special Olympics at Kottmeyer Stadium, welcoming athletes and volunteers from across DASD’s 16 schools. The event marked a celebration of inclusion, courage and community spirit, as participants with disabilities showcased their athletic prowess and camaraderie.

Kim Bankes, Supervisor of Special Education, shared, “Special Olympics is an amazing collaborative effort by multiple parties. Parents, teachers, support staff, administrative assistants, vendors, community partners, student volunteers, district personnel and administrators all unite to coordinate a special track and field event for our athletes. The effort and collaboration needed to make the day happen is inspiring. It is touching to know we have such wonderful people who care about our athletes and celebrate each student’s unique abilities.”

Special Olympics is more than just a sports event; it embodies a mission to provide sports training and competition opportunities for individuals with disabilities. By fostering physical fitness, courage and joy, Special Olympics creates a platform for athletes to share their gifts, skills and friendships with their families and communities.

Jon Otto, another Supervisor of Special Education, explained, “Our goal was always to bring the Special Olympic event to Downingtown. If there is a silver lining from the pandemic, it would be that each school successfully celebrated Special Olympic Day in its own way. We saw this as an opportunity to bring everyone together in a central location so that we could enjoy the day together as a community and recognize our athletes and the tremendous staff of paraprofessionals, teachers and therapists that support our programs every day.”

The day was filled with fun and excitement for all involved, with athletes showcasing their talents and determination in various Olympic-type sports.

“We were thrilled to host the Special Olympics at DASD, where inclusivity and diversity are celebrated,” said Justin Brown, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Downingtown Area School District. “This event embodies the district’s commitment to creating a supportive environment where all individuals, regardless of ability, can thrive and excel.”

The success of the Special Olympics would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of the DASD staff and volunteers. Their commitment to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment made this event a truly beautiful celebration of athleticism and friendship.

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