After volunteer Corinne Whatley called time at the dribbling event, the 9-year-old Blakeney Elementary School student hugged her teacher, Ashley Goodin.
“I did it! I did it!” India exclaimed.
The dribbling event Wednesday was part of the Special Olympics Area 9 Basketball Skills Camp. It was held at Warren Road Community Center and brought together special needs students from Richmond, Columbia, McDuffie and Burke counties.
Participants were awarded a ribbon after the competition and had their pictures taken.
Teachers said students really look forward to this event every year.
“It just gets them out of their regular surroundings,” Goodin said. “They are locked in their own little worlds and these high school kids make them feel so special.”
Following the competition, students were treated to a hot dog lunch.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to come out and have fun, be able to see friends and socialize, and kind of take a break from school,” said Kate Long, a special education teacher from Evans Middle School.
Student volunteers like Whatley and Justin Tran, both freshmen at Aquinas, guided the participants through the activities. They said they enjoy working with younger students and appreciated the opportunity to give back to the community.
“It’s really exciting. I love seeing all the kids,” Whatley said.
This year was the first time she and Tran volunteered at the event.
“It’s a great experience to help out the community while having fun,” Tran said.