Hundreds of people flocked to Maple Street Field on May 5 for the 1st Annual Special Olympics MetroWest School Day Games at Framingham State University.
The games were a collaboration between Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA), the Framingham State Athletic Department and the University’s Student Involvement and Leadership Development (SILD) Office.
Robert Johnson, president of Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA), said about 225 athletes attended the event. The day began with an opening ceremony and torch lighting.
The Special Olympics are all about empowering students with disabilities, Johnson said.
“What a great day for special Olympics and our athletes,” he said during the opening ceremonies. “Today is your day to show everyone what you can do. Show everyone here your great pride and determination.”
Students came from communities throughout MetroWest, including Framingham, Hudson, Natick, Marlborough, Northborough, Southborough and Bolton. They competed in several different events, including the long jump and 100-yard dash.
Staff from the University's Athletic Department and SILD spent months preparing for the games with help from more than 70 student volunteers at Framingham State.
“The students played a huge role in putting this all together,” said Angel Seto, Framingham State’s coordinator for clubs and services. “The turnout is awesome. The stands are packed with fans.”
Terry Keilty, the vice president of programs at SOMA, said during previous years the group has had to hold three school day games for the region because they didn’t have a large enough venue.
“We are hoping Framingham State will become a home for us,” Keilty said.
Framingham State President Timothy Flanagan said the University is honored to host the event.
“We are happy and proud you are with us here today,” he told the crowd. “We hope you come back every year!”