Public invited to celebrate special athletes in Fort Kent

FORT KENT, Maine — Exceptional athletes will display their skills and the public is invited to cheer them on when a Special Athletic Contest returns to Fort Kent in May.

The event is being held to provide St. John Valley athletes with a forum to shine in lieu of Aroostook Spring Special Olympics, which has been canceled this year due to COVID-19 concerns.  

SAD 27 special education teacher Iris Gagne is co-organizer of the event, along with Paula Saunders, mother of award-winning special athlete Sophie Saunders. 

This is the second inception of the Special Athletic Contest, which Gagne also organized in 2019 when the Special Olympics event, typically held in Presque Isle, was canceled due to rainy weather. 

“As a special education teacher at Fort Kent Elementary School, I have seen how beneficial and enjoyable the Special Olympics have been to my students,” Gagne said.  “I understand the Aroostook Management Team’s hesitation in holding a county-wide event due to COVID and appreciate their invitation to host our own event.”

“We feel we can safely provide the opportunity to Valley athletes on a smaller scale. This day gives these individuals a chance to shine and celebrate each other while coming together as a Valley,” Gagne said. 

The athletes will have the opportunity to participate in softball throw, long jump and running/walking events.

The Special Athletic Contest will be held Friday, May 13, at the Fort Kent Community High School soccer field. 

Opening ceremonies, including a parade, will begin at 8:45 a.m. Skill events will take place from 9 until 11 a.m., followed by closing ceremonies. 

A snack bar will be available for fans of the athletes. 

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