Noteworthy

Durham Academy hosts Special Olympics event for 30th year

Posted April 24, 2015

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— Classes were canceled Friday at Durham Academy so that students and staff could host a Special Olympics for athletes in the public school system.

The school has been hosting the athletic events for 30 years, and senior Brooke Jones said the day is full of "chaotic joy."

"I really like how much joy it brings," she said. "It causes students to grow in ways that are really beneficial."

All 400 students at the college prep school – along with about 50 staff members – have an assignment for the day. Athletes involved have trained for a minimum of eight weeks to compete in track and field, softball-throwing and other activities. About 1,000 people were in attendance.

"I love seeing all the kids and having fun. It's really about them," Durham Academy senior Lily Anderson said. "It's nice to take a break from the school work and all the stress. It's great being down there, just focusing on your buddy and all the athletes."

Junior Braden Saba said the 2015 games are even more meaningful for him.

"It means a lot to me on a personal level. My sister for the first time this year will be competing, and I have the incredible blessing getting to live with her every day," he said. "She hasn't stopped talking about it all week."

Braden's sister Jeona and the other athletes range in age from 5 to 21, and they are all students in the Durham Public Schools.

"I think it really gives everybody a chance to think about someone other than themselves," Durham Academy junior Veronica Kim said. "Especially because we as students tend to spend a lot of time thinking about things that are bringing us down."

Jack Mirsha, a Durham Academy junior, said the 30-year tradition is worth keeping.

"The kids here at Durham Academy, it really pulls us out of our comfort zone, and our whole day is centered on someone else – giving them the day of their life," he said.

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