by Leah Jackson
Teams from 11 schools in Natchitoches and Red River parishes participated in the 2022 Red River Games – Special Olympics Louisiana and Art Festival in April. The event included track and field competitions and recreation time for the athletes.
“Our participants were so empowered when we would cheer them on across the finish line and their smiles made it all worth it,” said Linzi Lampert, event chair. “We all agreed that we would do it over and over again. All of the volunteers learned to work as a team and to step up in an area where they were needed.”
The motto of Special Olympics, which inspires thousands of communities to support the organization, is “Let me win. But if I cannot win let me be brave in the attempt.”
Over 60 athletes from NSU Elementary Lab, Provencal, L.P. Vaughn, Lakeview, Fairview-Alpha, East Natchitoches, Natchitoches Jr. High School, Red River, Natchitoches Central, Weaver and Marthaville participated, according to Lampert. Athletes and supporters from the Natchitoches Association for Retarded Citizens (NARC) also participated. Each athlete received a t-shirt and goody bag, as well as a snack and lunch.
The Red River Games were hosted by Northwestern State University’s Presidential Leadership Program with volunteers from the Student Government Association, University Programming Council, College Panhellenic Council, Interfraternity Council, National Panhellenic Council, Order of Omega, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society and individual volunteers, including student-athletes and coaches. The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, City of Natchitoches Police Department and BOM Bank supported the event.
Event sponsors were NSU Campus Police, NSU Housing, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, Cleco Corporate Holdings, LLC.
PHOTO: Kasey LeBom of Natchitoches Central High School carried the Olympic torch to open the ceremonies for the Red River Games – Special Olympics Louisiana and Art Festival that took place at Northwestern State University’s Walter Ledet Track and Field Complex April 7. LeBom was joined by volunteers from the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Department and several other campus and community organizations for the game in which 11 teams from Natchitoches and Red River parish schools participated.