Children gather for the Special Olympics Unified Champions Day

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MISHAWAKA, Ind -- Students k-12 gathered at Mishawaka high school for the inclusive track and field events for the 4th Special Olympics Unified Champions Day.

Students k-12 gathered at Mishawaka high school for the inclusive track and field events for the fourth Special Olympics Unified Champions Day.

There were nearly 100 students at Tuesday’s event, from eight different schools, competing in events for ribbons, while enjoying the company of each other and their family, for an event they’ve prepared for since January.

“They’ve been practicing since January. Competing against each other and this is the culminating event,” said the Director of Exceptional Learners, Barbara Michalos.

This is the fourth year of the unified champion schools’ event, where children with and without disabilities on sports team, get together and compete in a friendly environment.

“I was happy because I got to play in events and I got fifth and second place” said participating student, Devin Krueger.

Children like Krueger, put a smile on the face of Indiana Special Olympics Director of Programs Buzz Lail, who was excited to see the turnout and the kids enjoying the competition.

“They’re seeing their starts up on the jumbotron, they’ve got a professional announcer, they’ve got a high school track. This is the big time,” Lail said.

The students wanted to have the full experience of being an athlete and the volunteers that showed up to Mishawka high school, gave them all the bells and whistles, turning their dreams into a reality.

“It was pretty fun because I got to run,” Krueger added.

“It was a really cool to see Mr. Huppert interview the kids one on one and get their takes on how things were going. So just those individual interviews that we got to listen to were great,” said event volunteer Chad Roggeman.

“For many of these students, it’s their first time competing publicly. They’ve trained but this is their first real event and it can be a life changing experience for a lot of people,” Lail added.

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