After a successful event last year, Stephenville ISD is bringing back the Special Olympics taking place from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday, March 22, at Lem Brock Field in conjunction with Tarleton State University’s Day of Service.

“That’s why we chose March 22nd and I’m looking at 100-plus Tarleton volunteers,” said SISD life skills teacher and Special Olympics coordinator Sabrina Carter. “We’re still going to have some high school volunteers through the Stingerettes, the cheerleaders and Student Council, and then we have a group of students who work with our kids with disabilities called HOPE and they’re also going to come out and help us.”

Stephenville will have 35 athletes and Dublin will have about 15 athletes participating.

“There’s a small group of participants, athletes from Rock House that are unable to travel to their delegations meet in Arlington this year, so they’re going to come and join our meet so I’m excited about that,” Carter said.

The Stephenville Rotary Club will provide snacks and the Lions Club will provide lunch for the volunteers and athletes.

“Julio Jimenez is doing our T-shirts for all of our athletes and all athletes this year get a drawstring backpack with freebees from the community,” Carter said.

Events will include standing long jump, mini-javelin, softball throw and tennis ball throw in the morning, and then the 50, 100, 200 and 400 races in the afternoon.

“We do have opening ceremonies and we’re trying to make that bigger and better where our students parade through and have the torch pass,” Carter said. 

The track stands are open to the public, but only athletes, volunteers, parents and staff will be permitted on the field.

“I would love for the community to come out and support our kids,” Carter said. “We’re super excited and just trying to build on what we did last year.”

The Special Olympics was created for students ages 8 to 21 with an intellectual or developmental disability.

“What I love most about our event is that it is designed and tailored for athletes with disabilities,” Carter said. “It celebrates their ability, it celebrates their bravery and courage. When I trained students at Tarleton to come out and be our volunteers, I shared a quote from Warwick Davis — he was an Ewok (Star Wars and an actor in Harry Potter) — that says 'when you look at me I don’t want you to see disability, I want you to see my ability' and I think it’s the best.”