Paris ISD to Host 1st Annual Lamar County Memorial Junior Special Olympics
On Tuesday, May 8, 2012 Paris ISD will host the 1st Annual Lamar County Memorial Junior Special Olympics. The meet, made possible by a grant from the Red River Council for the Aid of Persons with Mental Problems, Inc., is being held in memory of John Mark “Johnny” Stallings who passed away in August 2008. This annual event will honor the memory of former Special Olympic athletes.
Johnny, son of Ruth Ann and Gene Stallings, touched a lot of lives in his 46 years, melting even the hardest hearts of the toughest athletes to play for Gene in college at Texas A&M, Alabama or in the NFL with the Cowboys and Cardinals. Johnny showed everyone he met, and even those he didn’t, that someone with Down syndrome or a disability could make a difference in this world.
Over 80 special needs students ages 3 to 14 from seven different campuses in Paris ISD and North Lamar ISD will converge on Paris High School. The meet begins at 9:30 a.m. with a parade of athletes grouped according by school marching by the home-side stadium bleachers. Opening ceremonies include a special presentation to Ruth Ann and Gene Stallings.
Forty Paris High School student athletes and their high school track coaches will conduct a variety of track and field events, from 50 and 100 meter walk/runs, 25 meter wheel chair races, softball throw, and the standing and running long jump. Randy Nation will serve as emcee for the event, keeping things going and announcing the winners as each track and field contest is concluded. Closing ceremonies end at 11:30 a.m.
Community volunteers are invited to participate in numerous activities including cheering on the competitors as they strive to fulfill the Special Olympics Oath: “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Anyone interested in volunteering can sign up with Liz Cole, Head of Delegation for the Paris Special Olympics at firstname.lastname@example.org