Special Olympics

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Harding University arch

Summer has officially arrived and with it, an emptier campus, at least for the moment. School may be out for most, but campus doesn’t completely shut down in the summertime.

Intersession classes started May 11 and go until May 22. From the list of 58 classes being offered, 606 students are spending the next two weeks learning as much as they can in a variety of subjects from meteorology to medieval art. Class offerings are available to students in psychology, science, math, history, English, sociology, art and communication. Summer classes also start May 11 and go until July 31, and many students are choosing to stay and study in Searcy for the summer.

Harding also hosts a number of programs on campus throughout the summer, including Arkansas Special Olympics summer games May 21-23, and the 72nd session of Arkansas Girl’s State, a program created by the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Arkansas to allow high school juniors to participate in hands-on citizenship training, which begins May 31. This year marks the 22nd consecutive year Special Olympics has been held on the University campus. It’s an event to which the whole community looks forward.

Also on the calendar is three sessions of Uplift, four sessions of Honors Symposium and one of Honors Media and Culture, two Summer Stampede programs, three shows in the department of theatre’s Searcy Summer Dinner Theatre, and the 59th annual National Leadership Forum. For details, visit www.harding.edu/calendar. Stay tuned for our favorite stories and photos covering all the excitement in store at Harding this summer.

Hannah Beall Owens, director of news services

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Summertime at Harding has arrived. Parking is plentiful, and it has been quiet as the students on campus wrapping up Intersession today have had little time for anything but study.

One of the best things about summer at Harding is the multitude of activities hosted by the University. Sunday begins Arkansas Girls State followed by camps of spiritual, athletic and academic varieties.

Perhaps the most meaningful activity to many is Arkansas Special Olympics, with opening ceremonies last evening at First Security Stadium. This is Harding’s 20th year to host the event. Watching the pride and excitement on the faces of the participants as they are led by area for a lap around the stadium before being seated and then seeing their faces as they enjoyed the events of the evening made for a momentous time.

Arkansas’ and Searcy’s own First Lady Ginger Beebe was on hand as well as President Burks and Searcy Mayor David Morris to welcome participants. Recently retired, Bobby Doyle was recognized for his long leadership of the event. But there were no more important people at First Security Stadium than the eager Olympians who today and tomorrow will compete for the gold.

They are all winners in my book.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

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The Arkansas Special Olympics Flag is flying over First Security Stadium.

Physical Resources began Monday laying down and screwing together 264 sheets of plywood for the base of the opening ceremonies stage.

3250 box lunches are prepared by Aramark.

Athletes are greeted by motorcycle gangs from all around the state as they enter the stadium during opening ceremonies Thursday evening.

The parade of athletes is always fun to photograph.

Mrs. Arkansas greets athletes as they enter the stadium.

It is very loud when the motorcycles roar past the stands.

The torch is brought to Searcy by law enforcement torch runners.

The torch is lit, and the party begins.

The games begin Friday morning.

Shot put

Softball throw

Flag Football


400-meter dash





Photos by Ashel Parsons and Jeff Montgomery