Special Olympics has special place in Sussex Tech senior’s heart

GEORGETOWN — Like mother, like daughter.

Friendship and support of people with intellectual and physical challenges have had a special place in Libby Baird’s heart for many years.

Her passion perhaps comes from her mother’s connection at Lulu Ross Elementary School in Milford.

Libby Baird pops streamers to signal the start of the hoop skills competition.

“My mom is a special education teacher, so I have always had that background and I have always been friends will all of them,” said Libby. “So, in middle school I had the chance to be part of the bowling team. So, I was bowling with special education kids and it was a great time for me. And even since then, I have been involved with it.”

“I have always volunteered to help,” said Libby. “I have done the basketball. I have done the soccer. I have just continued to do it.”

Libby is a senior at Sussex Technical High School. Her career pathway is Physical Therapy-Athletic Healthcare.

On Dec. 13, she was the student leader in Special Olympics Delaware’s annual staging of the basketball skills competition for Sussex County at Sussex Tech. More than 200 athletes participated in various skill level events.

Sussex Tech students served as volunteers for the event. “They are all in Physical Therapy/Athletic Healthcare tech area here at Tech,” Libby said. “We probably have about 50 volunteers.”

Her ultimate role was “making sure everything goes smoothly,” she said.

Apparently, it did.

“Students were here early this morning while a lot of you were just getting out of bed,” said Jon Buzby, Special Olympics Delaware’s. “They have a student leader who has done an incredible job putting this event together — senior Libby Baird. Every question we had when we arrived, she had an answer to.”

She exceeded requirements for the mandatory senior project.

“It is in addition to my senior project. I had to write a paper and I chose to do mine on aquatic therapy for adolescents with autism. Then this was a tie-in that I was able to add in addition to it. So yes, I am going above and beyond.”

This week’s Sussex Post People to Meet, Libby Baird.

Sussex Tech senior Libby Baird served as student liaison/coordinator for the Special Olympics basketball skills held at Sussex Tech.

Family? 

“My parents are David and JoAnn Baird, and I have a younger sister, Abby.”

How long have you been involved in Special Olympics Delaware’s basketball skills at Tech?

“I have been part of it since I was in ninth grade. But I also participated in middle school with it. I wasn’t the athlete, I was one of the partners. I was their friend. I was the unified partner.”

Planning and preparation for the basketball skills event?

“I decided at the end of last year that I wanted to do this in addition to my senior project. I was the student leader, in addition to Miss (Caroline) Maull. Miss Maull is the supervisor for Special Olympics, our Project Unified group.”

“It was towards the end, so it was in the springtime. Then I decided over the summer that this is what I wanted to do. Then, coming up to the school year it was set that I was going to do this. So, I was in charge of getting in contact with the Special Olympics Delaware representative. We communicated back and forth and this is the day we decided to do it on.”

What does success of Special Olympics athletes mean to you?

Alejandra Martinez-Ortis is all smiles after catching the ball during Special Olympics Delaware’s basketball skills competition held in December. Helping is Howard T. Ennis teacher Danny Milam.

“It makes my heart truly happy. And when I see them smile, I smile, but I think sometimes my smile is even bigger than theirs.”

Other school activities at Sussex Tech?

“I am part of the field hockey team. I am part of the swimming team and I am also part of the lacrosse team here at Tech.”

College plans?

“I plan on going to a four-year university where I will be able to go to become a specialized nurse. I want to become a nurse practitioner in dermatology. Next year, I plan to attend West Virginia University in the fall.”

What kind of dermatology and why?

“All of it. I don’t know. It is just kind of what I want to do.”

What do you like to do with your leisure time?

“I like to go to the beach, hang out with my friends and hang out with my family.”

Closing thoughts?

“This year, I had so much fun planning and participating in the Special Olympics Basketball Tournament here at Sussex Tech, and it was obvious that everyone enjoyed themselves. Throughout the year I hope to get the Sussex Tech swim team to participate in the Polar Bear Plunge, and in the spring, I would like to have the school participate in ‘End the R word.’”

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