Bloomingdale and Newsome high schools co-hosted the eighth annual IncrediBULL Games field day on February 23.

In 1968, just before the first Special Olympics International Games, Eunice Kennedy Shriver jotted down the Special Olympics athlete oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

On February 23, 570 special education students from 18 schools competed with determination in the eighth annual IncrediBULL Games at Bloomingdale High School. The IncrediBULL Games are a Special Olympics field day event co-hosted by Bloomingdale and Newsome high schools.

Greeted by the Bloomingdale drumline and cheerleaders from both schools, the athletes were celebrated from the moment they got off the buses. After the opening ceremonies, they spent the day competing in track, soccer and field events. The athletes played games at ‘Olympic Village’ booths staffed by student clubs. Student volunteers, called buddies, were paired with athletes as companions for the day.

Event coordinator Donna Hart loves the inclusion and friendship the day promotes.

“The IncrediBULL Games event continues to be my favorite day of the year.  The excitement, from both the athletes and the student volunteers, is beyond measure.  It is a day for fun and, more importantly, friendship,” Hart said.

Hart started the games in 2015 (a year was skipped due to COVID-19) when she was a teacher at Bloomingdale. Hart currently works at Newsome. Both schools work together to create an amazing day for the student athletes. Bloomingdale Principal Dr. Marcos Rodriguez and Newsome Principal Katie Rocha are grateful for the collaboration.

“As principal, the highlight of the event for me is seeing our athletes bond with their buddy throughout the day while they perform in their events and have a great time in the Olympic Village,” Rodriguez said.

“True strength encompasses the fusion of courage, kindness and unity. The IncrediBULLS event shines a light on these virtues, sparking our shared determination to conquer new challenges through resilience and collaboration.” Rocha said.

The 2024 IncrediBULL Games was the largest yet with 570 athletes. Volunteers included 850 student volunteers from Bloomingdale and Newsome as well as community volunteers from MacDill Air Force Base, the Knights of Columbus and the Special Olympics.

“A special thank you to Sue Burkett, chief of schools, for supporting the idea to start the IncrediBULL Games nine years ago.  She helped to build a community of inclusion for all students and her legacy continues to this day through the IncrediBULL Games,” Hart said.

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