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Athletes from 15 schools take part in Mehlville Special Olympics

Crystal Ellis, a junior at Mehlville Senior High, gives her Special Olympian the royal treatment during their visit to the Olympic Village.

Special Olympic athletes from 15 different schools recently gathered at Mehlville Senior High School for the school's sixth annual Special Olympics Day.

Even Mother Nature did her part to make the day a rousing success, holding the rain off until the last group of Special Olympic athletes had boarded their school bus for home.

Each Special Olympic athlete was paired with a Mehlville student "buddy" for the day, helping to make the event special for all involved, according to a district news release.

Mehlville students were responsible for making sure their Special Olympic "bud-dy" checked in and competed in all scheduled events.

Each Mehlville student and his or her buddy also toured the Olympic Village to-gether and ate lunch as a team.

The athletes were welcomed into the stadium by the Mehlville cheerleaders.

After opening remarks by Mehlville High Assistant Principal Denise Driscoll, the Mehlville Girls' Concert Choir performed the national anthem.

Next, the ceremonial Torch Run took place, with Special Olympic athletes Alys-sa Rode, Sara Streb and Jon Vaporian having the honors of lighting the Olympic flame.

Oakville Senior High Special Olympian James Collins officially opened the games by reading the Special Olympic oath.

Activities included the tennis ball toss, sprint races, relay races, softball throw and jumping events. Athletes were presented with ribbons after each event.

Mehlville's Special Olympic Day, which is one of many organized each year by the Special School District throughout the St. Louis area, was organized by Driscoll and her secretary, Debbie Woods. They were assisted by a team of 25 Mehlville students working together since January as a steering committee to carefully plan each phase of Special Olympics Day.

In addition, teachers Mike Szydlowski and Ernie Perrica, along with secretary Brenda Emmenegger, were instrumental in putting the event together.

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