A Special Send Off for LRHS Special Olympians

Lakelands Special Olympic athletes stand ready for their send off parade.

Courtesy of the Lakeland Live Feed

Lakeland’s Special Olympic athletes stand ready for their send off parade.

Saturday morning was “incredible” for the Lakeland Regional High School community, according to Assistant Superintendent Michael Novak. The weekend quiet of campus was interrupted by cheers and sirens during the first ever Special Olympics send off parade. The event, which took place on January 30, honored the Lakeland Special Olympics Team as they prepared to compete in the 2021 Special Olympics Winter Games.  

The procession featured community members, Lakeland faculty and students, the Ringwood and Wanaque Police Departments, Wanaque EMS, and the Wanaque Fire Department.  Over 100 personal and emergency vehicles passed in front of Lakeland Regional High School to cheer on the athletes watching and waving to the parade.  The athletes, part of the Special Olympics program, will be competing in snowshoeing in the upcoming Special Olympic Winter Games. 

Traditionally, our district’s Special Olympic athletes were honored in a “clap-out” during the school day where students and faculty line the campus courtyard as the athletes walk out to the bus waiting to take them to the games.  This year, the COVID-19 pandemic made this type of event impossible, but that didn’t stop the Lakeland community.  

Lakeland’s National Honor Society and the Lakeland Education Association developed and orchestrated this drive by event to honor the athletes.  “We were happy to create an event that would honor these athletes while keeping everyone safe,” National Honor Society president and senior Jacob Wierer said.  

Wierer credited the events’ success to student coordinators, seniors T.J. McCormack and Connor Kennedy.  “The incredible turnout and smooth event is a testament to their efforts and to the support of the entire community.”  

Watch the amazing event hereThe Ledger wishes all of the Lakeland Special Olympic athletes the best in their upcoming competition.