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Special Olympics puts smiles on competitors, volunteers
Effingham County coach Phillip Richards talks with a couple of Special Olympics competitors before signaling the start of a race Friday at The Corral. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

GUYTON — It didn’t matter how far the tennis ball went. Every throw drew applause and high fives from the crowd.

Similar scenarios unfolded during other events during the Special Olympics at The Corral on Friday. The athletes’ perseverance and determination were rewarded with golden smiles and other methods of affirmation, not golden medals.

“I think it was a great experience for all the kids and it makes them really happy,” said Francie Gaskin, an Effingham County sophomore. “They all want to come out as winners and it shows how we all can be one community and make everybody happy if we just get together and do something fun.”

About 250 Effingham County Schools students participated in ball tosses, races, tests of soccer skills and other events.

Gaskin was one of several high school students who assisted the athletes. A lot of coaches and teachers helped, too.

“This is my first year of working it but I love it,” she said between tennis ball throws. “My mom is a physical therapist and she has been doing it for a while. I love all the kids.”

See the March 28 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.