Elementary students celebrate peers competing in Special Olympics

It was a very special day at an Orange County elementary school as classmates with disabilities were celebrated for being part of the Special Olympics. 

Hundreds of Palm Lake Elementary School students lined up outside of the school bus drop off area holding handmade signs while cheering for their classmates. All of this was part of a special opening ceremony event at their school for the Special Olympics.

Young Athletes and the Little Elites make up the Special Olympic program. On Thursday, they were the pride of the school.

“I love to see then feel that joy and get to feel that time and celebration from their peers,” teacher Danielle Pyke said.

The little athletes are part of an elementary sports play program that teaches them to work on their skills by playing soccer, flag football, basketball or track and field all year round. The Special Olympics gives these kids a way to demonstrate their talents through the competition so everyone can see just how capable they are.

“We stress that we’re all a family,” Principal James Weis said. “We all belong here and it’s important that everybody sees each other equal par in that respect and we all have the same opportunities and desires and dreams. We celebrate that with all our students.”

Teachers said they strive to teach their students about inclusion, which is why they said it is so important that they bring everyone together to celebrate the accomplishments of every student and help them realize that they’re part of something bigger than themselves.