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Southeastern Hosts Local Special Olympics

As the weekend approaches, most people look forward to enjoying time off. For the Southeastern University community, the weekends offers time for them to serve. This Saturday, Southeastern faculty, staff and students will spend their day hosting the local Special Olympics at Victory Field from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The majority of the participants for the event at Southeastern are from Polk County.

“Having it at Southeastern brings it to another level. This is very similar to our state-level competition. We look forward to future opportunities of hosting the games at Southeastern,” said Glenn Fite, Jr., area sports director of Hillsborough and Polk Counties Special Olympics.

Over 120 participants will compete in powerlifting, softball, flag football, and cheerleading and gymnastics. Special Olympics athletes will be partnered with Southeastern athletes during the day as well as students from sports management classes. The awards ceremony for the event will be held during halftime of Southeastern’s football game that evening.

“To host an event of this magnitude is such a blessing for the participating athletes, their families, and the Southeastern community as a whole. I have been amazed at the outpouring of support from our SEU students who have signed up to be volunteers,” said Dr. Kevin Weaver, assistant professor of education and human performance.

“I look forward to watching the athletes compete. They have worked hard and this is going to be an exciting, historic event. It is truly a blessing that the entire Southeastern community is helping to make it happen.”

In the spring of 2016, students from Southeastern’s Kappa Delta Pi honor society and Terri Paton, director of Pathways School of Excellence, volunteered with the Special Olympics. Through this volunteer opportunity, they were able to establish a working relationship and offer for Southeastern to host the local Special Olympics group.

“The leadership team at Southeastern was excited to get the campus involved in this. We would love to make it an annual event,” said Paton.

Students from Pathways School of Excellence will be in attendance to watch the games, and they plan to compete in future games.

The event is open to the public. For more information, contact Stephanie Garrison at slgarrison@seu.edu or call 863.667.5039.