Nine students from Brittany Hennigan’s and Kimberly Abadie’s special education classrooms at Jackson Elementary attended for the first time this year the Capital Area Special Olympics track and field events held at Woodlawn High School in Baton Rouge on April 22.

Each student competed in three events: walks or runs, long jumps and throwing, and were placed in heats based on ability, age and qualifying time.

The students practiced prior to the Special Olympics games by racing each other at recess and practicing with physical education teachers Marcia Houtz and Jaworski White.

Each child had an adult chaperone travel with them to their events, and following competition, each student returned to the stands to cheer on their JES classmates and athletes from other schools.

Hennigan said the students showed excellent sportsmanship by cheering on all the athletes regardless of their schools or finishing times and did an excellent job waiting their turn to participate.

Hennigan and Abadie both said they were thrilled at giving their students the opportunity to compete in the games.

“We especially liked watching the joy in their triumphs,” Abadie said.

Students Cameron Curvin, Taliyah Jones and Meyontai McNeir said participating in their respective events made them feel “happy and good.”

“What a joy it was to witness our students, as well as other students’ athletic feats,” Houtz said.

“They were all amazing and supportive of one another. I look forward to next year’s Special Olympics.”