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Special Day for Volunteers, Special Olympics Participants

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TUNKHANNOCK -- About 300 students participated in this year's Special Olympics in Wyoming County. The annual event included students from Lackawanna, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Wayne, and Pike Counties.

Organizers say about 100 student volunteers were involved in the event.

For high school senior Maggie Sohns, it was a bittersweet day as she helped out with the events.

"I really like interacting with the kids. They're so much fun and they're just here for a good time," Sohns said.

The Tunkhannock Area High School senior has been involved with Special Olympics since the fifth grade. This year's event will be her last. Sohns graduates from high school this school year.

"It's definitely bittersweet. I'm excited for what next fall brings, but this is definitely really sad to say goodbye to this," Sohns said.

Student volunteers say it isn't just a fun-filled day on the track, it's also a day to help classmates and those with disabilities.

"It brings me a lot of joy getting to see the kids so happy doing something they can't normally do other than now," student volunteer Courtney Yuhas said.

Yuhas and her buddy Jennifer Morrison participated in the track events together.

"We walked around the track. (And you got a medal?) Yup!" Morrison said.

It didn't take Aaron Puvlick long to find his favorite activity of the day.

"The bean bag toss," Puvlick said.

For Puvlick's middle school buddies, this year was the first time they helped volunteer.

"I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to meet and help kids with special needs," student volunteer Audrey Franko said.

"It has been really fun. It's a really nice day. Last year was a little snowy, I heard," student Hailey Long said.

Organizers say this year was the first year the Special Olympics were held in May. Last year it snowed the day of the event.

10-year-old Preston Cosklo zipped back and fourth under the parachute. His family says seeing his reaction at Special Olympics is the best part of the day.

"It's super special for him to come out and do this. It gives all the kids a chance to shine on their own special day," Cosklo's mother Tiffany said.