This item originally appeared in the April 28, 2005 issue of The Tech Talk.
By MELISSA WALKER
The Jim Mize Track and Field Complex was the place to be April 22, participating in or helping out with the 15th annual North Central District Track and Field Meet, also known as the Special Olympics.
Victoria Picou, the co-chair of the Special Olympics and a sophomore biology major, said this year's Circle K-sponsored event was successful.
"The point of this is to make sure the kids have a good time," Picou said. "That is how we judge the success."
Picou said despite the success of this year's event, she was disappointed with the lack of community involvement.
"I was upset that we only received $180 from the community," Picou said. "That doesn't even cover paper [for fliers]."
Picou said the lack of funds was the reason Circle K was unable to afford T-shirts.
"I understand people are busy," Picou said. "I guess they are just donating to other things."
Picou said financial shortcomings were compensated for by volunteers' participation.
"We had a very good mix of types of students from the student body," Picou said.
"This is the best response of volunteers we have gotten in years."
Picou said the participating athletes, who range from elementary to high school age, came from schools from north and central Louisiana.
Picou said the students have the opportunity to advance to higher rounds of competition, according to their time.
The emphasis is placed on actually competing, Picou said, rather than the end result of the competition.
"All kids get a ribbon, whether they win or not," Picou said. "Everyone is a winner."
This belief is exemplified in the Special Olympics Oath, which states: "Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."
Melissa Brennan, a senior speech language and hearing therapy major, said the kids thoroughly enjoy their opportunity to shine.
"You wouldn't think it would excite them as much as it does," Brennan said. "They have been talking about this for three weeks. They talk about how they are going to wear the ribbons they win."
Brennan said she understands why the children love the Special Olympics.
"They can be good at something here," Brennan said. "They know they are going to win."
Ebony Myree, a Special Olympics athlete and a fourth grader at Ruston Elementary School, said she was glad to be there.
"I have been excited about this ever since we were told about it," Myree said. "I go home every day and tell Grandma 'You know the Olympics are coming up!'"
Crystlle Church, a volunteer and a senior biology and medical technology major, said she was happy to be able to help out.
"It's a good thing to see that [the kids] aren't worried about their disability," Church said. "They are just trying to participate in everything they can."