First Posted: 4/23/2015
Thursday, amidst a sea of Franklin Elementary School students, children who are participating in today’s Special Olympics were introduced.
The Pep Rally began at 2 p.m. and lacked nothing. The North Surry band was in attendance to fire up the already lively crowd and North Surry cheerleaders led cheers for today’s athletes. Additionally, athletes and their escorts sang a song for the student body.
Each athlete, upon being introduced, walked the length of the school’s gymnasium. However, they weren’t alone on the walk. Instead, they were escorted by a North Surry basketball player and a fifth grade “buddy” from the school’s “Brave Kids Club.”
Franklin’s “Brave Kids Club” is the brainchild of two fifth grade boys. Bryson Wilson and Jacob Collins started the club in hopes of helping special needs children. According to Bryson the club has about 15 members in its first year.
Bryson says he got the idea when he was helping a special needs youngster over the summer. According to Bryson most of his friends have now joined his “Brave Kids Club.” He says that is especially exciting because each of the members brings different ideas to the club.
For now the members of the “Brave Kids Club” are tasked with escorting and helping today’s Special Olympics athletes. They stepped up to the plate in their first task at Thursday’s pep rally. After the North Surry Greyhound carried the torch through the gym, each athlete and his or her escort followed to cheers that could be heard from outside.
In addition to faculty and staff, many parents of the special needs children were present for the pep rally. Chris Love, who is the parent of one athlete, highly praised Franklin for what it does for his daughter and others like her.
“I thought it was great,” said Love, adding “this says a lot about this school and the school system.” According to Love the pep rally takes place every year. He says the event shows Special Olympics athletes like his daughter that “they are as important as varsity football or basketball.”
The Surry County Special Olympics Spring Games will be held today at Mount Airy High School. The event will kick-off at 9 a.m when athletes and Surry County Sherrif Graham Atkinson carry the torch into the gym. The Olympics feature events such as bowling, golfing, volleyball, softball, cheerleading, basketball, and power lifting.