The annual Fellowship Games took place this week for Omaha Public Schools. The Fellowship Games tag team with Special Olympics Nebraska to bring kids from special education departments together to compete in a day of track and field.
“The best part about it is that it's unified. It means you will see students with and without intellectual disabilities,” said Special Olympics Nebraska CEO Carolyn Chamberlin.
The kids get to go through hours of activities, from throwing rubber chickens into hoops, to stretching, to jumping into sand. But one of the favorite activities was the racing.
Students Garand Kiir and Leah Olson spent all day together, and Kiir said his favorite activity was the running.
“I was already pretty close with him but now I can see how much ability he has and all the things he is amazing at doing which is really cool,” said Olson.
OPS Education Supervisor Shana Frodyma said this day is all about giving the kids the chance to play and compete.
“It’s competitive, yet it’s rewarding, you don't have that if you didn't place first that doesn't mean you aren't important,” she said.
The Fellowship Games also gave an award out for the first time, the Kerrie Orozco Volunteer Award.
The fallen Omaha police officer was a huge supporter of the Special Olympics.
“We think it’s appropriate to honor her, not only her service but also her advocacy and the work she did on behalf of so many children in Omaha,” said Chamberlin.
Award recipient Liz Konopasek works with OPS and helps make all the equipment at the games accessible to kids with all types of disabilities.
“She leaves big shoes to fill, she did quite a lot for a lot of children so I feel like I can’t believe I am being compared to her but it’s an horror and I hope I can live up to it,” said Konopasek.
Omaha Police officers also spent the day with the kids.They agreed that the Kerri Orozco Award is a great testament to the legacy she left behind.
“It's a great example of her legacy, and the effect she had on everyone. We hear it all the time, kids came up to me yesterday and today saying how they miss her and how special she impacted their life,” said OPD Sergeant Marcus Taylor.