2014 Special Olympics
By EMMA CEPLINSKAS and MANALE ZOUHIR MacDonald Stadium was filled with Malden High School students and faculty along with Special Olympic athletes from surrounding towns on May 8th, 2014 for the annual Malden Special Olympics. The stadium was decorated with flags and banners and a vividly energetic atmosphere. MHS student volunteers and staff arrived bright and early to prepare for the event, making final touches to the work they had done the previous night to set up and decorate MacDonald Stadium. Special Olympic events happen throughout the country, honoring those with special needs and giving them a day to enjoy themselves and overall feel good. Every year in Malden, it is a tradition that is never missed. MHS always honors this event, as it is vital to those who participate and care about this event. Local schools in Malden attended the event as well as schools from Wakefield, Medford and Melrose. All of the athletes made their way through a path paved with pep-filled volunteers to their designated areas at the other end of the stadium. They had their picture taken, were given high-fives, and overall cheered for by MHS students. Principal Dana Brown then announced the schools and the athletes walked to the center of the field where oaths were said. Senior Jesse Memolo sang the national anthem and Mayor Gary Christenson and co-superintendent of Malden Public Schools also spoke before the games began. The games began with events such as the 50- and 100-meter race as well as shot put. At both ends of the field were stations with medals for the athletes where they would pose on pedestals and receive their awards. Outside of the field was a tent set up for arts and crafts where the athletes could have their faces painted by volunteers or play with soccerballs and be involved in other recreational activities in between their scheduled events. This year had the most volunteers since it started, with over 100 MHS students helping out. Usually there is a goal for 60-80 students, but this year was different. This helped give almost every individual specific attention from a volunteer, making the event more successful. This counted as an excused absence from school for students for the entire day. Most volunteers were each assigned a school or a station to help out with, and stayed there during the event. Other stations included handing out awards, arts and crafts, face painting, bubbles, stickers, lunch, and more. There were also board games that volunteers and athletes played together, and some volunteers read to those in their specific section. The volunteers did whatever it would take to make the event successful and the athletes happy. Overall, the 2014 Special Olympics was a huge success and kept the participants overjoyed. "These kids don't have someone cheering them on the way that [MHS student athletes] do, and that's why today is really important," added Scibelli. The participants were glad to have a day that focused entirely on them, and could not help but leave MacDonald Stadium with a grin from ear to ear.