Williamsburg-James City County schools host 1st 'Exceptional Games' for students with disabilities

Donnell Brown, Jamestown High School head football coach and special education teacher, wanted to host an event to celebrate students with disabilities.

From Brown’s and his colleagues’ idea came the 1st Annual Exceptional Games, which took place on the track and fields at Jamestown High School on Thursday morning.

300 students with disabilities participated in football toss, soccer kick, kickball, bean bag toss, potato sack racing, hula hoop and water balloon catching competitions.

“It was a great time for the students, they enjoyed it and it was a lot of fun. The event promoted unity and we had a lot of schools participate,” Brown said.

Lafayette High School, Warhill High School, Jamestown High School, Toano Middle School, Hornsby Middle School and Berkeley Middle School were all represented at the games.

For the students, it was three hours of running, throwing and having fun.

“I won the 100 meters,” said Buddy Jefferson, a student at Hornsby Middle School. “I ran and beat everybody.”

For the teachers, the anticipation beforehand and the smiles on the kids faces when the competition began made the Exceptional Games memorable.

“This event is awesome. The kids are having so much fun and I hope they continue it after this year,” said Sarah Holland, a special education teacher at Hornsby.

“It’s wonderful to see all the kids interact,” said Kris Smith, a special education teacher at Lafayette High School. “The kids love field trips and this is totally different than any other field trip we’ve been on before. They were excited to be outside and do things.”

The large scale event also took a massive effort from the 150 volunteers.

Tyler Highley, a junior at Jamestown, helped out by handing out water and making sure everyone was having a good time.

“It’s a ton of fun, I’m interacting with everyone and everybody is having a good time,” Highley said. “I think a lot of the students wanted to get out of the classroom and have a good time and this gave them that opportunity.”

All of the participants received medals at the conclusion of the three hour event.

Sponsors for the event include Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg, Colonial Sports, Jamestown High School SCA, Chick Fil A on Mooretown Road, Balfour, Gang Green student section and the WJCC Schools Foundation.

“Today is a celebration of friendship, building collaboration, working together to make it happen. Most of all today everyone is champion,” said Olwen Herron, superintendent.

Brown hopes the 1st Annual Exceptional Games will become a yearly fixture for the schools.

“That’s the main thing we all want to do it again next year, we will sit down and plan some more in the summer,” Brown said.

Jefferson can be reached by phone at 757-790-9313.

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