HAVILAND — A trio of Wayne Trace students attended the Wayne Trace Local Board of Education meeting Monday, to thank the members for their donation that helped them compete at the Special Olympics 2019 State Summer games that took place June 28-30, at Jesse Owens Stadium in Columbus.
On hand were Chase Schaefer and Lynsey Pease, Wayne Trace Junior High School students, and Lynsey’s sister, Madison Pease, who attends Grover Hill Elementary School. Also on hand was Tera Thompson, coordinator for Special Olympics at PC Workshop, Inc., in Paulding. Thompson also thanked the board for its support and donation of $750 for the athletes.
“A couple of years ago I was hired to revamp the Special Olympics program, it was still going, but not at as strong a level as we wanted it to be,” said Thompson. “Since that time a lot has happened, and through some amazing support from the Paulding County communities and schools, we have seen tremendous amounts of growth, especially with our student-aged athletes.
“Here at Wayne Trace, you have a total of nine students that are competing in athletics from elementary school through high school. Special Olympics has an age requirement of at least 8 years old, so I really believe we need to support our kids when they’re young and get them involved in programs that will help them throughout their lives,” added Thompson. “I’m excited to share with you how our three athletes here tonight did at the Summer Games in Columbus.”
Thompson explained that the three took part in track & field events at Jesse Owens Stadium on the campus of Ohio State University. She introduced Schaefer, who finished first in the mini-javelin, first in the shot put and was part of a relay team that finished second in his age group. Out of 523 total competitors in the mini-javelin across all age groups, Schaefer finished second overall.
“Thank you for the support for Special Olympics, I like Special Olympics because I get to meet different kids who have special talents like me,” said Schaefer. “I just want to thank you for paying for us to go there. It really means a lot.”
Introduced next was Lynsey, who finished first in the 100 meters, was second in the shot put, and second in the relay she ran with Schaefer.
“I had a great experience, and after winning my gold medal, I got my picture taken. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to go,” said Lynsey.
Thompson then introduced Madison, who finished fifth in the 50 meters and second in the softball throw. She was too shy to read her thank-you letter to the board, so her mother read the following to the members: “It was very fun, and I would like to thank you for all of your support.”
Said Thompson: “I’m just super-proud of these kids, they handled themselves very well. Trips like this are very expensive and the generosity of this board speaks volumes.”