The Waxahachie High School held its annual Special Olympics track meet pep rally on Friday in Solis Gymnasium.

The event has been going on for multiple years and is a good way to bring the community together, head coach of the Waxahachie Special Olympics sports teams June Flowers said.

“We do this every year to recognize the athletes in the actual track meet,” Flowers said. “We get the high schoolers, the Charmers, cheerleaders, band and ninth graders to come out and support these kids.”

The Waxahachie athletes will compete against eight other schools in their annual track meet. Cedar Hill, Duncanville, Ennis, Lancaster, Italy and Irving are the schools that the 40 special needs athletes will compete against.

“They’ll do one track event and one field event, unless they’re in a wheelchair, then they can do two races,” she said. “These kids love this pep rally. The community comes out and gives their support and I just want to say that I love the support that we get from the town, the staff and teachers. Every year they help give donations that help pay for the T-shirts, their banquet and other things involved to make this happen.”

Each year the athletes will compete in five track meets per year, Flowers said.

The athletes that compete in the annual meet recognize and appreciate the support from the community, said Linda Edmiston director of special education in Waxahachie.

“This gives the athletes an opportunity to really celebrate and to get ready for the track meet on Tuesday,” Edmiston said. “It gives the whole faculty, and also the students within this high school a chance to celebrate these athletes from the different schools, the junior highs, with some students who are even from the elementary schools that are participating. So it gives them all a chance to come together here as one team to celebrate their uniqueness before they go to the track meet on Tuesday.”

Each of the athletes’ names were called out individually, so they could come out onto the gymnasium floor and give high-fives, hugs, salutes and other greetings to the cheerleaders, mascots, principals and other WHS faculty and staff.

This is the 30th year of the Special Olympics track meet in Waxahachie and this year’s theme is “Because We’re Hachie.”