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Special Olympics event for Lee County schools meaningful for participants

Students from 14 different Lee County schools participated in a Special Olympics field day. It’s part of the “Be a buddy” program to integrate students who live with disabilities and those who don’t.

All Lee County high schools as well as Six Mile Charter Middle School and Cypress Lake Middle School joined together Friday for the Special Olympics field day.

“I love the fact that we can take people in society that have special needs, and we can give back to them and give them a day where it’s just about them,” student Elijah Lowman said.

“It basically means everything to me,” said student Isaiah Morales, who partnered with Lowman for the event.

Special needs students from each school pair up with a buddy for the event activities.

“We have bowling. We have football. We have baseball,” Lowman said. “If there’s an activity that someone wants to do, it’s here.”

Todd Dusenberry is a life skills teacher at Cypress Lake High School. He told us two of his former students came up with the idea. Fifteen years later, Dusenberry said, “It is my busiest day.”

“I get to read the reflection papers that they write after today, and I live today through them,” Dusenberry said. “It makes me smile.”

Over 50 businesses and individuals donated food, supplies and money for the day’s event. Dusenberry also tells us, when this first started,  there were four schools and 75 kids involved. This year’s event prepared for 1,500 participants.

Lowman hopes this one day of new friends and good feelings someday never ends.

“Special needs moves past high school,” Lowman said. “Adults with special needs tend to be forgotten about. Someone needs to plan and coordinate those events for them past high school and past education.”

Reporter:Michelle Mackonochie
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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