Western Wayne Special Olympians in the elementary, middle, and high schools had another successful year at the 13th Annual Track and Field Area P Special Olympics that took place on May 8 at the Delaware Valley High School stadium.

“It’s an incredible experience for our students,” special education teacher Mrs. Sarah Rickert explained. “They all take it very seriously. There is something magical about seeing the wheelchairs lined up and ready to go for some of the races.”

One such student who had the chance to participate in races at Special Olympics with his wheelchair was Western Wayne senior Sebastian Tomasetti. He competed in the 25 meter speed and 50 meter speed.

“I had fun,” Sebastian said.

Rickert explained that a lot of the other students had really nice wheelchairs in the race this year and that Sebastian was racing with a new chair as well.

Sebastian’s classmate ninth grader Michael Phillips participated in a variety of Special Olympics events including: shot put, 100M dash, and the long jump.

“I liked seeing old friends at the event,” Michael said.

Rickert explained that one highlight of Special Olympics for the students is to reconnect with former classmates who have since graduated from Western Wayne.

“Outside agencies bring people to the event, so it is nice to see the students have a reunion of sorts,” Rickert said.

A student who enjoyed reuniting with former classmates was senior Marisol Henkel. Along with having fun with friends that were both former and current classmates, Marisol participated in the softball throw, long jump, and 100M dash.

Rickert described the Special Olympics as having an open format in which parents can move about freely to support their children. Sebastian, Michael, and Marisol had parents in attendance.

Along with the support of parents, friends, and teachers, the students were treated to the support of the Delaware Valley Marching Band who came out to play some music for all to enjoy.

Rickert said her students really enjoyed the music along with the support of Delaware Valley Elementary students who spent some time in the stands cheering on all of the Special Olympians.

A great day was had by all involved. Western Wayne participated along with students from Wayne Highlands, Wallenpaupack, and Delaware Valley among other schools and local agencies.

This year, as a special treat, the Western Wayne students wore bright yellow t-shirts to show their Wildcat pride and pride for themselves as unique individuals.

“The shirts had the word ‘disability’ on them with the ‘dis’ crossed out,” Rickert explained. “I think the message was powerful.”