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A day full of sunshine and mild temperatures added an extra dash of enjoyment to what was already a day packed with fun and smiles for hundreds who turned out for Shelby County High School’s Rocket Games.
Noelle Barnes, SCHS’ complex needs counselor, the coordinator for the event, said she estimated that nearly 1,000 people were in attendance.
“Well, we have three hundred student volunteers, and we have sold over five hundred t-shirts, and we have so many vendors and people who have come out; it’s just great,” Barnes said.
Barnes said the event, held on the Rockets’ football field, is a spinoff of what formerly was the local Special Olympics games, an event held especially for disabled children.
In addition to kids and adults alike dancing to upbeat music, munching on cotton candy and playing games such as corn hole and very miniature golf, more structured competitive games were held. Track-and-field events included 50- and 100-meter dashes, wheelchair races and standing and running long jumps. There was a basketball dribble race and basketball, softball and football activities.
Many people who turned out had attended the event before, including Margaret Hall, who said she has brought her son, Glenn, to the games every year since it was established in 2009.
“He just loves it,” she said. “The kids are so good with him; we always have a great time.”
Tracye Nalley, associate principal at SCHS, said both the staff and students had been looking forward to the event.
“It’s a very positive experience for everyone, the morale is very high today,” she said.
Emily Swindler, special education consultant at SCHS, commended Barnes for putting the event together.
“She has given one hundred and ten percent for this,” she said. “Mrs. Barnes has a diversity club, and this is one of their projects; students have to meet behavioral and grade requirements to get to participate.”
Participants included students from Oldham and Shelby counties, as well as parent volunteers, vendors, and various local businesses, Barnes said.
“I really want to thank everyone who donated their time, especially our community partners and all our volunteers,” Barnes said.
Swindler said one reason so many people look forward to the event is because not only is it a good opportunity to have fun, but it also gives people a chance to help others.
“It’s a win-win situation for everybody,” she said. “The students are very excited about it; the teachers are very excited about it. It’s just a very feel-good day because everybody is enjoying themselves, and the morale is just huge, because it’s such a giving situation.”