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Posted: May 3, 2014 5:05 p.m.

Let the Games Begin

The 2014 Newton County Special Olympic Games begin Monday

File photo/

The 2014 Newton County Special Olympics begins Monday at 10:30 a.m. at Sharp Stadium with the traditional Parade of Athletes.

While the 2014 Olympic Winter Games have come to a close, the Newton County Special Olympic Games are just heating up, beginning with Opening Ceremonies and Olympic Parade Monday morning at Sharp Stadium.

The Parade of Olympic Athletes begins at 10:30 a.m., kicking off a week of Special Olympic activities.

Newton County Special Olympics Coordinator LaTrell Cawthon said that the event is an opportunity to bring Newton County community members together with a special group of athletes.

“The Special Olympics is such a great event because it pulls the community together,” Cawthon said. “Churches, businesses, industries and volunteers all work together to give these athletes a special week. It also gives our athletes the opportunity to work and play with other people in Newton County that may not have much exposure with special needs students. It allows our athletes to show other people that they’re just like every other child.”

Following Monday’s Olympic Parade and Opening Ceremonies are the Special Olympic Games track and field events.

On Tuesday, Newton County’s middle school, high school and adult athletes will take the field, while elementary school students begin their events on Wednesday.

Friday will feature Closing Ceremonies at Spring Field Baptist Church.

Track and field events will begin Tuesday and Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. and run until 12:30 p.m. with Closing Ceremonies starting at 10:30 a.m. on Friday.

“I love the way that we hold our Special Olympics in Newton County because it’s successive,” Cawthon said. “We try to model it after the Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Parade of Athletes. It’s a celebration of our athletes and we want to honor that.”

Cawthon said that the games gives special needs students a sense of accomplishment.

“We have three athletes per heat so everyone comes away as a winner,” she said. “For them to be able to accomplish a goal – whether it’s finishing a race for the first time or tossing a softball – it’s a big deal. When they get to stand up on the medal stand,

there is no better feeling. It makes you appreciate everything. They’re the happiest kids.”

For more information, contact Cawthon at cawthon.latrelle@newton.k12.ga.us.

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