Special Olymipics At Vianney Promotes Friendship

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KIRKWOOD, MO. (KPLR) -  For Christopher Stewart, Monday was a day for physical fitness and new friendships.

'I have fun and I like to run and I hope the kids like it,' says Christopher Stewart.

Chances are everybody liked today's event in the St. John Vianney gymnasium.

'We're hosting what's called a unified track meet with Special Olympics and we've been doing this for 11 years,' says Charlie Walsh the event organizer.

This is one of 11 such Special Olympic events at area high schools throughout the St. Louis region.

The Special School District brings athletes from around the region who get paired up with a student.

'Get to meet the new people and get to hang out with your friends,' says a smiling Demetria Hooker.

More than half of the 650 young men enrolled at Vianney take part in the annual event.

'So many kids want to sign up for it,' says Mike Loyet the President of St. John Vianney High School.  'Usually we'll sign up from the seniors on down.  A number of guys walking around today, I know they've been doing this for four straight years.'

Like Sam Reynolds who looks forward to this annual rite of spring.

'It's totally volunteer,' says Sam Reynolds a senior volunteer.  'It`s up to us whether we want to do it or not and I love to do it.  It's fun to volunteer, it's rewarding it's awesome.'

The same goes for the athletes.

'Part of it is meeting new people, part of it is the competition which I don't get any more since high school,' says Matt Rosenkoetter.  'It's just a love of competition.'

Combined with sportsmanship and social service, you've got the makings of a very special day that everyone involved will remember for a long time to come.

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