Duckworth hosts Special Olympics Challenge Day -- Gazette.Net


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Duckworth Regional School in Beltsville held its 19th annual Special Olympics Challenge Day on the school grounds Friday.

The goal of Challenge Day is to provide intensive motor training for students with severe or multiple disabilities, which would prevent them from competing in traditional Special Olympics events, according to information from the school.

“Our athletes do their personal best as they compete in a variety of adaptive sports,” said Duckworth Principal Lisa Wenzel.

More than 80 students participated in adaptive swimming, gymnastics, basketball, baseball, T-ball, tricycling and other sports.

After competing, every student was recognized with a Special Olympics medal.

Duckworth’s event is unique in that each student is paired with a peer coach from a neighboring school — Takoma Academy, Beltsville Academy or John Nevins Andrews School — who spends eight weeks training the Duckworth student in preparation for Challenge Day, Wenzel said.

The school also announced that its gymnasium would be named the Charles E. Castle Memorial Gymnasium, in honor of the owner of Ace Fire Extinguisher Service.

Castle had been a supporter for nearly 20 years, volunteering at the school, organizing fundraisers and assisting the school in building partnerships with other community organizations.

Castle died in November at the age of 73.

“Charlie was a good man and a good friend to Duckworth,” Wenzel said. “We will miss his friendship and his smile.”