WATCH: Middletown held an inspiring special-needs event to open its brand new track stadium

The opening event Friday for Middletown schools’ new track and field stadium showcased the district’s annual sports Olympics event for special needs students.

The “Middie Olympics” event, which attracted more than 500 including students, their parents, Middletown’s mayor, police chief and other top officials, returned to its original Middletown High School campus.

“For 49 years Middletown has done a special thing for special kids in our community,” said Middletown Board of Education President Chris Urso while waiting on the sidelines of the newly laid artificial turf field where students would compete in modified skill-level games.

As he spoke, Urso frequently glanced skyward, as did others at the beginning of the event, looking for a skydiving team carrying a giant, unfurled American flag down on to the field marking the official beginning of the yearly event.

Due to a $86 million construction project that saw the renovation and expansion of Middletown High School and the creation of a new, adjacent middle school, the school campus was reversed with the old track and field stadium moved from the south to the northern border.

Middletown School’s Barnitz Stadium was the site of the Middie Olympics for the last two years.

The new middle school and renovated high school opened in September 2018.

“(Friday) we get the honor of opening a new facility and we have all kinds of cute, excited young people who are hopefully have a great day. We appreciate all the support,” said Urso, referencing the donations of food and other services from local companies and community organizations.

The newness of the stadium, field and running track, which opened just a few weeks ago, and the Middletown marching band added to the day’s excitement, said school parent Jennifer Atkinson.

“It’s something my son (special needs seventh- grader Luke) always looks forward to every year, and my husband and I always take the day off so we can spend it as special day with him,” Atkinson said.

“This year has been extra exciting because it is the first time they have held an event here at the track at Middletown High School so he has been very excited for the day to come. My husband and I and our family really appreciate Middletown schools and all the effort and time that goes into preparing this special day for the kids.”

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