Girard marking 10 years of aid to Special Olympics

GIRARD — For the past 10 years, students and staff at Girard city schools as well as representatives of local community and service organizations have played host to a state-sanctioned Special Olympics track and field event.

Girard High School Principal William Ryser said the event started as a three-way partnership between the Girard schools, Girard-Liberty Rotary Club and Fairhaven School to provide an opportunity for special needs adults to compete in track and field events.

Anthony Hall, 24, of Niles, took part in the javelin throw and 100-meter relay events. Hall and many other competitors from Fairhaven School in Niles prepared for the event by practicing at the school with the help of teachers and coaches.

Hall said he likes running so he chose to compete in the relay.

Ryser said 250 volunteers have helped during the past decade of Special Olympics, which has seen 275 competitors from Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and Ashtabula counties. Volunteer duties include keeping track of the events and passing out medals, Ryser said.

Fairhaven Superintendent Edward Stark said 40 athletes from his school have always looked forward to the track and field events.

Bo Greene, an adaptive physical education teacher at Fairhaven who coaches the participants, said the event lets them excel in areas in which they do well.

“They are very committed to what they do,” he said.

The Fairhaven School gym is used for practicing.

Rebecca Hostettler of West Farmington said she took part in the mini-javelin throw and the 200-meter run and said she likes to be competitive and meet the other team members.

Rose Hostettler of West Farmington said her daughter does a great job preparing for the event.

“She likes to run track. She runs at school and in the driveway. She is very dedicated.” Rose said.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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