Special Olympics day returns to Middletown with joyous tears, cheers

Credit: Journal News

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Credit: Journal News

All children with special needs deserve a special day and over the years Middletown Schools have made an annual sports event designed just for these students one of the district’s trademark specialties.

And Thursday’s “Middie Olympics” — on the track and football field of Middletown High School — also marked the first time in two years the event was conducted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hundreds of special needs Middletown students — from all 10 of the city schools — were joined by their families and friends in the sports-themed celebration that saw them participating in modified track and athletic events.

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Middletown schools held their Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Middletown schools held their Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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Middletown schools held their Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

On this day, everyone was a champion and joyous smiles reflected the sunny day happiness of the kids.

“The Middie Olympics are such a wonderful tradition for our schools and after a two-year hiatus, today was the perfect day to gather and compete together,” said Elizabeth Beadle, spokeswoman for the 6,300-student school system.

“All you see on the field are smiles, dancing, hugs and high fives. It’s a good day to be a Middie,” said Beadle.

Students exited school buses and entered the sports stadium through a corridor of high school cheerleaders, shaking pom-poms and shouting encouragement.

A skydiver brought a giant American flag down from above while the national anthem played. Soon after each of the participating schools’ athletes marched together behind their teams’ hand-crafted banners as the traditional world Olympics theme music played over the stadium’s speakers.

Then teams of students split up and began — with the help of dozens of teachers, classroom assistants and district officials — to compete in a variety of competitions especially designed to allow even those with physical challenges to join in the fun.

Meghan Davidson, special needs intervention specialist at Middletown High School, stood at the center of the artificial turf football field and looked around at all the joyful energy, saying “this is super important” for the kids.

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Middletown schools held their Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Middletown schools held their Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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Middletown schools held their Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

“This is our first Middie Olympics we’ve had since COVID-19 and our kids are very excited and these students are very deserving. It’s an awesome day to celebrate them and our special needs community,” said Davidson.

“This is also a very exciting opportunity for parents to get to see their children. We have a very, tight-knit special needs community and this is just an awesome way to celebrate all those aspects of what makes Middletown city schools a great district,” she said.

Middletown school parent Paula Dixon was smiling watching her son among the athletes enjoying the games.

“This is his first year here so it’s really special for us. I love it and it’s a great opportunity for him,” said Dixon.

Everyone went home with Middie Olympic medals and fun memories.

Chelsea Corcino, a classroom para-professional from Mayfield Elementary, said “this day is very important for the children.”

“They don’t get to do a lot of field trips and they get so excited,” she said. “Something like this is very important for them to be a part of.”

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Ellwy Ferrell, middle, is helped around the track during the parade lap of Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Ellwy Ferrell, middle, is helped around the track during the parade lap of Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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Ellwy Ferrell, middle, is helped around the track during the parade lap of Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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Cheerleaders greet Anderson Hayes, 10, and Amber Karkiewicz for Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Cheerleaders greet Anderson Hayes, 10, and Amber Karkiewicz for Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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Cheerleaders greet Anderson Hayes, 10, and Amber Karkiewicz for Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

caption arrowCaption
Middletown schools held their Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Middletown schools held their Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

caption arrowCaption
Middletown schools held their Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

caption arrowCaption
Middletown schools held their Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Middletown schools held their Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

caption arrowCaption
Middletown schools held their Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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Steven Miller, 17, does the ring toss during the Middletown schools Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Steven Miller, 17, does the ring toss during the Middletown schools Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

caption arrowCaption
Steven Miller, 17, does the ring toss during the Middletown schools Middie Olympics day Thursday, May 12, 2022 at Middletown High School. Community and student volunteers helped and students from all Middletown schools participated. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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