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Family Fun Day lives up to its billing
Family Fun Day 2022
A smiling competitor reaches the finish line in the tunnel run at Josh Reddick Stadium on Friday. - photo by Photo by Rick Lott

SPRINGFIELD — Hundreds of students, teachers and family members gathered at the Clarence E. Morgan Complex on Friday to participate in the Effingham County School District’s annual Family Fun Day.

Dr. Ashly Hunter opened the event by explaining what Family Fun Day is all about. She said, “It’s our Family Fun Day and Resource Fair for our families and it’s just about having our kids come out to participate in athletic events and just enjoy a fun day together.”

Hunter expected a crowd of about 600 and had different events for the students scattered around multiple ball fields.

Superintendent Dr. Yancy Ford started the activities with a ceremony to bestow an honor on the man for whom the recreation complex is named, Clarence Morgan, who passed away in January. Morgan’s widow Pam, daughter April Morgan Lawson and son-in-law Walt Lawson accepted the award.

 “None of this would be possible without his efforts, his vision, his tireless work toward making sure that every child has the opportunity to play a part in recreation,” Ford said.

Ford went on to say that Morgan’s core mission was realizing that every child is important and must be given the opportunity to play a part in recreation. For that reason, school officials decided it was proper to dedicate the 2022 Family Fun Day to him.

Ford said the event was formerly known as Effingham County’s Special Olympics. He said the district steered away from the event being part of the Special Olympics because that organization has restrictions and criteria that students must meet in order to participate.

“The vision of our exceptional students department was to include every student,” Ford said.

Ford said they changed the name to Family Fun Day and ensured that every student could participate. He said that the games are for the student athletes to enjoy competing and experience what it feels like to be a winner.

All the different schools’ students walked into Josh Reddick Stadium in a parade of athletes. After the pledge of allegiance was led by Blake Askew, the national anthem was performed by the Effingham County Middle School Chorus, which was conducted by Krystin Kicklighter.

The Effingham County Air Force JROTC presented the colors for the ceremony. 

Lunch was provided by the volunteers of the Noon Rotary Club of Effingham County. They cooked and served hamburgers and hot dogs for all the participants.

Several vendors and community organizations were also on hand to offer resources for parents and students.