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North Atlanta Students Take Gold at The Special Olympics

Golden+Effort%3A+North+Atlanta+basketball+squad+members+along+with+faculty+members+and+volunteers+bask+in+their+the+team%E2%80%99s+earned+gold-medal+glory+after+a+Special+Olympics+competition+in+Cartersville+in+January.+%0A
Golden Effort: North Atlanta basketball squad members along with faculty members and volunteers bask in their the team’s earned gold-medal glory after a Special Olympics competition in Cartersville in January.

Golden Effort: North Atlanta basketball squad members along with faculty members and volunteers bask in their the team’s earned gold-medal glory after a Special Olympics competition in Cartersville in January.

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Golden Effort: North Atlanta basketball squad members along with faculty members and volunteers bask in their the team’s earned gold-medal glory after a Special Olympics competition in Cartersville in January.

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North Atlanta athletes recently scored gold in the winter Special Olympics basketball competition held Jan. 12-14 at Lakepoint Sports Complex in Cartersville. There were eight athletes who participated in the event.

The North Atlanta team was split into two sections, the red team and the black team. These teams took on more than 30 teams that participated in this state-wide event. The teams were accompanied by special education faculty members Sheena Varghese, Mallory Henson, Nicholas Hill, Regina Genaro and Lisa Oglesby.

Special education teacher Sheena Varghese said she was proud of the way all the athletes competed and related with other athletes. “Both teams played hard at the tournament! It was great to see the Special Olympics athletes and partners work together on the court,” she said.

All participants at the Special Olympics won in one wåy or another. Whether or not they received a medal, they still had a fun time with their friends. “I really like my gold medal,” said Kyron Chandler.

Special Olympics Georgia provides a safe place for adults and students with intellectual disabilities to compete in a larger scale environment with an accepting society. The organization’s goal is to help show that every person is valuable and together, they can make a difference on or off the field.

With 25 different sports offered and a wide age range, many people can participate in various activities offered by the Special Olympics. This provides people with the ability to come as they are and participate as they wish. With more than 36,000 volunteers, it is clear that participation is popular among the public and well-liked. With the help of the volunteers, 27,115 Georgia athletes have had the opportunity to compete for the gold.

The Special Olympics isn’t just a competition but rather a community for people who not only fight for the prize, but also for equality. “We are all the same with or without disabilities. Everybody has their weaknesses and strengths,” said senior Arham Bihmani. “I taught people how to shoot, pass and make plays. It was truly an eye- opening experience.”

The Special Olympics were enjoyable for all those involved, and even more so for the volunteers who saw the participants grow as the event progressed. “It was fun and I got to help kids do more things than they usually could. It was definitely a special experience. We helped kids play basketball and you could really see their confidence increase,” said sophomore Emari Phillips.

With multiple events and different seasons, everyone has a chance to play — and be inspired.

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North Atlanta Students Take Gold at The Special Olympics