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      Special needs students compete with mainstream peers in Special Olympics Day event

      The activities were part of Project Unify, which is a Special Olympics program aimed at getting all students to work and play together, not just those with special needs.

      LEXINGTON, SC (WACH) -- Five hundred students competed in the third annual Special Olympics Day at Red Bank Elementary School Wednesday.

      The activities were part of Project Unify, which is a Special Olympics program aimed at getting all students to work and play together, not just those with special needs.

      Students participated in the torch lighting ceremony, which included a parade, singing and performances by the cheer team and other student groups. Students also ran races and competed in shot put.

      The goal of the event, which included the entire student body, was to create teamwork and comradery between students, regardless of their needs.

      "We need to learn how to interact with everybody, and these are the kids we're going to be going to middle school with and going to high school with and the more times we get to learn how to interact with others, how to get along with others, how to accept others, the better off we'll be as employees, as friends, as neighbors," said Peg Hippen, a special ed teacher at Red Bank Elementary.

      Baseball players from the University of South Carolina also attended the event, cheering on the students and helping to light the Special Olympics torch.