Every year, members of our own community compete in the statewide and nationwide Special Olympics. Though this year looks a little different, Maryville High School is determined to try to keep the program going strong here in Blount County.

Keeping the coronavirus and its implications for the Special Olympics’ athletes in mind, the design of this year’s winter games has been made so that participants can compete from the safety of home. The Winter Fitness Challenge is an eight-week program in which these athletes can work to improve their strength and flexibility in measurable manners, such as balance with single-leg stands or core strength with sit-ups.

Maryville High School comes into this by helping raise awareness and money for the program. Every day for the past week, announcements have gone out at the beginning and end of the school day about this year’s Special Olympics, as well as a way students can help out. The school has opened up the concession stands every day after school in the gym lobby in hopes of raising money for the program. Students are able to give to the cause while enjoying an afternoon snack.

As members of the community, we can also contribute to the program. The Special Olympics team is always looking for athletes, coaches, volunteers and unified partners. We can make a difference in the lives of fellow members of our community. More information about joining the effort is available on the Tennessee Special Olympics website.

Andie-Marie Jones is the school correspondent for Maryville High.

Melanie joined The Daily Times in the early 90s and has served as the Life section editor since 1993. A William Blount and UT alum, Melanie is generally the early arriver who turns on the lights in the newsroom.

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