SHS Special Olympics Participants Share Their StoryFriday, May 18, 2012 By Erica Rineard
The state of South Dakota hosts many competitions based on Olympic games throughout the year for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The competitions are not only for children anymore. Now, there are many competitions for kids who are in high school. In fact, three students from Stevens High school participate in the games throughout the year. These students have been competing in the games from the time they were very little and have loved participating. The students Rachel Grant, Elizabeth Sterling, and Andrew Burgess have earned many first place ribbons and medals. This past weekend the three of them earned medals in swimming,soccer,softball,and track. "It's a fun time of fellowship and getting to compete with friends that the kids really enjoy," Nancy Bakeberg, SHS teacher of three of the students who participate in the games said. "When they go to state there are also other fun things to do such as movies and a dress-up dance," added Bakeberg. In the early 1960's Eunice Kennedy Shriver began to notice how unfairly children with disabilities were being treated. There was no place for them to just play sports or other activities they might excel at. They weren't given a fair chance and she decided to take action and change this immediately. At first it started as a humble summer camp in her own back yard. Today, the program has expanded to not only individual state competitions but has also reached global status. The state competition went well for the students, with more first place wins. The next National competition will be held in 2015 in Los Angeles California. The mission of the games is to unite children in a positive and competitive environment that promotes equality, the meaning behind their motto of, "We Are All Winners".