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Athlete to represent FPS


“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

This is the Special Olympics Athlete’s Oath, which Farragut Primary School first-grader Olivia Campbell will recite before she represents FPS in Special Olympics Tennessee’s 2008 Spring Games beginning at 10 a.m., Thursday, April 24, at Farragut High School.


Olivia said she is excited about the games and is glad her family is going to watch her compete. She said she is going to “race and throw a baseball.”

Olivia’s schoolmates are going all out in their support of her. Inside the front door of FPS hangs a sign reading “Go-Go Miss O,” the nickname Olivia goes by, and bearing the signatures of every FPS student and faculty member as well as many parents.

Susi Schaeffer, Olivia’s teacher and Special Olympics coach said, “We took it down to her classroom and we invited all of her classmates in first grade to sign it. Then we put it in the lobby and invited the rest of the school and all the staff and parents, the whole Farragut primary school community to sign it.”

Jackie Campbell, Olivia’s mother, said she was moved and touched by the outpouring of support for Olivia.

“I had no idea what they were doing. I went to pick Olivia up and saw the huge sign and all the wishes; I literally lost my breath for a moment and began to just be so moved by people’s support.

“In another teacher’s class each child made an individual good luck card for Olivia and they watch her practice. The teacher said they are just thrilled to watch her practice and to know somebody in the Special Olympics; they think it is just the coolest thing they have ever seen,” she said.

“I am surprised on one hand, but not surprised on the other hand, because her teachers and the staff enjoy Olivia and they want her to succeed.”

Jackie is grateful for Schaeffer’s commitment to Olivia.

“[Schaeffer] is one of the most gifted teachers I have ever met. The excitement, enthusiasm, dedication and constant [way she] challenges the children to learn more and be more independent, to respect and accept their personality and try to help them be successful, is amazing.”

Jackie, who has been involved professionally with Special Olympics for years, is excited to find herself awaiting the event from a parent’s standpoint.

“[Olivia and our family] are equally excited. She is an energetic little girl that loves to be outside and loves people cheering her on. We are just excited that she has an opportunity to express herself and show the community what things people with disabilities are interested in and what they are capable of.

“It is an opportunity to watch Olivia thrive. It is an opportunity to watch her work hard and be rewarded. It is an opportunity for her friends and family to have yet another reason to support her.”

Jackie, an audiologist involved in the Healthy Athletes division of Special Olympics, has seen first-hand the benefit participants, and volunteers as well, have received from the games.

“What I have learned about Special Olympics is that no matter what your ability level is, there is an event for you. As a parent that is so welcoming and it is so refreshing that this organization meets the needs of all people no matter what their ability level is.

“The volunteers and parents and people get as much or more out of Special Olympics than the athletes themselves do,” she added.

The entire community is invited to come out and cheer Olivia on in her events.

For more information on becoming a volunteer for, or making a donation to, Special Olympics, visit www.specialolympics.org.

 

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