Local Special Olympics caters to school-aged children

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MOKANE - South Callaway will host its own Special Olympics for kids as young as 3-years-old during Friday's school day.

This is South Callaway's third year hosting a local Special Olympics. Local competitions differ from state-wide events because they are hosted by schools and cater to school-aged participants.

The Mokane events began in 2016. Lead organizer and school district psychological examiner Angie Trammell said she had no idea how fast it would grow. She's been able to track the event's growth by the amount of lunches she has made for participants. 

"I think we made 170 lunches the first year," Trammell said. "This year we are up to about 440 lunches."

Students will participate in events such as track and field, long jump and T-ball. 

Nine schools around the area will send students to compete, some of which include Fulton, Fatima and Community R-6.

Volunteers from South Callaway High School and Middle School will help set up and guide the students through their events.

Gabe Williamson has volunteered every year. He said it's the kids' excitement that keeps him coming back. 

"Next year, I'd be going to college, but if I got the opportunity to come back and help it would be awesome," Williamson said. 

Trammell said the Special Olympics has improved the lives of her students as well as students from other schools.

Trammell said, after last year's Special Olympics, she received a call from a school in another district about how the games changed the life of a student who was non-verbal.  

"That day he got so excited and he just talked and talked and talked out of excitement," Trammell said. "They were all just amazed." 

The Olympics are open to the public and begin at 9:30 a.m. with a parade to celebrate the participants.