All smiles at Catoosa schools' annual Special Olympics
Christmas came early for more than 200 athletes participating in the 2015 Catoosa County Special Olympics on Thursday May 24 at Don Patterson Stadium.
The Catoosa Schools’ annual event featured Heritage seniors Jake Allen, Jamie McCurry, Kristopher Santilli, Jake Weekly of Heritage, Brandon Plaster of Ringgold and Emily Haney, Kurtis Rachels, Hunter Taylor and Brianna Whitley of Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe.
Becky Conner, Catoosa schools’ special education director, said it was without a doubt the biggest day for not only these seniors, but every athlete competing in more than a dozen different events.
“This is my favorite day of the school year every year,” Conner said. “I love the community being involved; the parents and the athletes make it so much fun.”
Santilli (Heritage) said he was “giving it his all” while being with his friends one last year.
“It’s really fun,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. It kind of makes me sad being my last year.”
Jarred Hammil (Heritage) competed in the running events and the tennis ball throw. He said it was a huge day for him and his friends.
“I’ve been excited about this every year,” he said. “I love having everyone come out and cheer me on.”
Hammil’s biggest fan was his sister Morgan Hammil, who attends Dalton State College. She said she couldn’t say enough positive things about Catoosa schools with Special Olympics.
“I think this is so great,” she said. “It’s so good to be able to have all the special education classes come together, have fun and compete.”
Cody Gravitt (Ringgold) said his best event is the 50-meter dash.
He said all of his ribbons will hang on his wall in his bedroom at home.
“I’ve been doing this for about six years,” he said. “I love it. I like my ribbons too.”
Logan Pickett of Heritage High School said it was an extra special day for him, having the athletes he supports cheer on him. Pickett is a manager for the football, tennis and boys’ basketball team.
“We have a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s good to get to be with everyone and have them cheer.”
Pickett said his best event was the long jump.