To the Editor:
I am writing this letter on the heels of what has been another exciting and glorious weekend for the Warwick Superstars Special Olympic team at the Special Olympics RI State Games held June 1-3 at the University of Rhode Island. Fifty-seven athletes accompanied by approximately 20 coaches arrived at URI on Friday. That afternoon, the relay teams competed and received their medals and ribbons. After dinner, the Warwick Superstars team, in full uniform led by the athletes holding our banner, took their place in the parade line. The Opening Ceremonies were extra special this year, as two Superstars took to the podium. Christina Peacock addressed the stadium filled with athletes, families and friends in an eloquent speech and Kellen Moran then led the athletes in the Special Olympics oath.
Soon after, the crowd began to rise as the roar of the motorcycles (1,600 strong) leading the torch run approached the stadium. The torch made its way into the stadium and was passed off to the athlete given the honor of lighting the cauldron. The crowd cheered, the motorcyclists took to the field distributing shirts to the athletes and the fireworks began, along with music and dancing all around the field. The evening was filled with emotion, joyful tears and the coming together of the athletes, coaches, families, friends and Special Olympics staff throughout Rhode Island and nearby communities.
The following day, the Warwick Superstars awoke at an early hour to begin a day filled with competition in Track & Field events. This year’s rain did not dampen the spirit of the games. The Special Olympics RI staff was well prepared to “take it inside” and, despite delays and rescheduling, the competition went on. The Superstars went on to medal or ribbon in a variety of races, softball throw and turbojav. At the end of the day, athletes and coaches packed up our dorm and headed home with a heart full of memories.
On behalf of the Warwick Superstars “family,” I would like to thank those behind the scenes that support us and help make it all possible beginning with the Warwick Schools community. Many coaches are teachers or teacher assistants that volunteer their time each week for practices and the weekend of the games, thank you!
I would also like to thank Dr. Richard D’Agostino, director of Special Services, Rosemary Healey, director of Human Resources, and Steve O’Haire, transportation manager. Their continued support for many years of athletes and coaches often goes unnoticed. I would also like to thank Jeff Taylor, Gorton Jr. High principal, and his custodial staff for accommodating the team, especially in inclement weather. One final thank you to Michael Rooney, director of Parks and Recreation, city of Warwick, for his continued support for many years of the Warwick Superstars team.