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More than 100 students participate in All-Star Olympics

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ALTUS, Okla._More than 100 special needs students were able to forget about their disabilities and show off their talents alongside kids similar to them.

They were participating in the fourth annual All-Star Olympics in Altus. Special needs students from Pre-K to high school came from Jackson, Caddo, Tillman and Kiowa counties to participate. All of the kids had smiles on their faces as they ran, threw and rolled balls to the finish line. The goal of the Olympics is to give these students who are unable to participate in extra-curricular activities a feeling of accomplishment.

Rashell and Rhet Johnson and their daughter Reece competed in Thursday's Olympics. They said this event is something she looks forward to every year.

"They have such a fun time and if you watch, every kid here is happy. This is a day that there is no judgment and everybody is just enjoying every second," said Rashell Johnson.

The event coordinator and occupational therapist assistant for Altus Public Schools, Stacy Ogle, says the students get so excited that they have to give them calendars to mark off the days until the Olympics.

"We work with these kids everyday and to see them come out here and enjoy this and feel successful is just wonderful,” said Ogle. “They start getting excited about it three or months ahead of time and they start asking about it."

A volunteer from Altus High School says the Olympics are all about making the kids feel special.

"It makes me feel just really good and I enjoy just the smiles on their faces. They have such a good time with Plinko and games like that. It's just the little things and it makes them so excited," said Devonte Hall.

Johnson says having this event every year is essential for the community. They said it has helped not only their daughter make friends but themselves as well.

"Meeting parents and just having that support amongst the parents and teachers. And knowing there are all these people here that supporting your children and teachers, it's encouraging," said Johnson.

The All-Star Olympics was started in 2011 because Altus and surrounding school districts couldn't afford to take their students to other Special Olympics like the one in Lawton.

The first year, the event received funding from a grant through the school, now they fund it by selling t-shirts, concessions and collecting donations from the community.

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