Partners PE creates its own Special Olympics


Ethan Spozarski and Edi Durakovic participate in Baldwin’s in-house Special Olympics games.

Grace Spozarski, Staff Writer

The Baldwin High School Partners PE classes have come together to continue the tradition of the Special Olympics, even through COVID-19 restrictions.

As everyone’s health remains the top priority, the Special Olympics Summer Games were canceled this year. However, Baldwin Special Olympics co-sponsor Timothy Laughlin did not let that stop his Partners PE classes from maintaining the spirit of the Games with an in-school version.

“I did not want the experience of the Games to die,” Laughlin said.

Earlier this month, students in the Partners classes got to work on coming up with events to create a makeshift Special Olympics that would be as close to normal as possible.

“It made the students a part of it and own it,” Laughlin said.

The Games were played throughout the past week, with a closing ceremony scheduled for today.

While some of the traditional events were not able to be completed inside, the students and staff came up with a variety of different ways to accommodate the new setting.

Competitions included events such as a noodle and scooter relay race; a football accuracy throw; a soccer accuracy kick; a ring toss competition; a cornhole competition; and a badminton relay. The class was divided into two groups, with each group participating in a different event.

This makeshift Special Olympics proved easier in some ways, but more challenging in others.

“In a lot of ways it’s easier because there is a lot of work involved in running the Games,” Laughlin said.

However, the element of creativity needed due to the pandemic restrictions definitely provided more of a challenge.

Junior Olivia Penrod said that no matter what, the environment for any kind of Special Olympics is always positive and uplifting.

“Everyone is always so happy to see you and willing to have a conversation about literally anything,” Penrod said.

Sophomore Makena Luxemburger agreed that the environment remains inclusive and active, and that there is never a dull moment.

“I feel that the more condensed version allows us to become closer with the athletes and be able to connect with them more now that it is smaller,” Luxemburger said.

Penrod and Luxemburger have both been involved with the Special Olympics for their entire high school career, and they plan to continue that throughout the rest of their time at Baldwin High School.

Laughlin, meanwhile, knows that the ultimate goal is to have the Summer Games back to normal next year.

“We do not have this grand big event (this year) that we get to bring in various communities to see the good stuff that Baldwin does,” Laughlin said.