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Student-athletes shine at Dryden Games

The Dryden High School track was abuzz with excitement Friday as nearly 100 students with disabilities participated in the Dryden Games. The games, in its second year, featured a variety of activities such as adapted races, shot put, discus throw, an obstacle course and track events. Each participant received a medal and congratulatory high-fives and handshakes from the dozens of volunteers.“I expected the kids would have fun and I wanted it to be an educational experience as well,” said Dryden High School physical education teacher Krista Gillette. “This has exceeded all my expectations. The high school students who volunteered as buddies formed great connections with the athletes. It’s so great to see all the students’ smiling faces.”The fun-filled day was made possible through the community’s support, Gillette said. Dozens of local businesses, organizations and individuals donated their time, money, manpower and services to the annual Games.Dryden Elementary student AJ Little (left) and Brandon Clark gear up for the Dryden Games. Little was one of nearly 100 student-athletes who participated in the annual event Friday.“It’s definitely a communitywide event and I’m so grateful for all the people who played a role in the Dryden Games,” Gillette said. “The event wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing volunteers and donors.”In addition to the athletic events, participants and volunteers honored the memory of Nick Patte, a 2012 Dryden High School graduate who passed away in February after battling Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Patte’s mother, Sharon, offered words of hope and encouragement to the participants during opening ceremonies.“Do your best and have fun … laugh so hard you’re crying sometimes, and love with all your heart,” Sharon Patte said as she quoted Nick’s favorite saying. Participants and volunteers also release balloons into the sky in memory of Patte.

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