By Stephen Dravis
04:19PM / Wednesday, May 03, 2017
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Hundreds of athletes from throughout Berkshire County converged at Monument Mountain Regional High School on Wednesday for the 38th annual Berkshire Area Special Olympics Track and Field Meet.
Participants competed in running, throwing and jumping events, thrilling to their own accomplishments and inspiring those lucky enough to witness the event.
The opening ceremony featured a torch run conducted by area law enforcement officers, a performance of the national anthem by the Monument Mountain marching band and a reading of the Special Olympic Oath by Kaitlyn Critchley.
"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt," Critchley reminded her fellow athletes.
The opening ceremony also included the bestowment of a number of special awards, including the Keith C. White Memorial Award, won by Jake Bassi; the Ellen C. and Sheilah Graham Award, won by Taylor Fera; and the Daniel Holian Award, won by TJ. Guaccione.
Monument Mountain Principal Marianne Young was presented a special award in recognition of her 16 years as principal at the school, which has hosted the county event for all but one of the 38 years.
Young said the celebration of sport teaches valuable lessons to the students from Monument Mountain, Mount Everett, Lee and Lenox who participate as volunteers.
"I think it demonstrates that there are all kinds of people in the world, and we all are welcome and have a right to participate in life and in programs, regardless of our personal characteristics," she said. "Our students see that all people are entitled to and really enjoy competition, athletics, challenges.
"And then our regular ed students get to help other people who can’t do these things alone. Students who can do those things alone help and give back."