As the final event of the seventh annual Nancy Spigener Special Olympics began, Waxahachie High graduate Gabby Moon eagerly waited as the third leg of the 400-meter relay.
She grabbed the baton with confidence, knowing her long-time boyfriend, Dylan Cook, was cheering her on from the bleachers inside Billy Goodloe Stadium in Red Oak.
The two Waxahachie High School graduates participated in the annual Special Olympics meet hosted Friday, March 29 by Red Oak ISD.
June Flowers, the longtime coach and special education teacher at Waxahachie ISD, has worked with Cook for several years and said Moon was in her second year participating in the Special Olympics.
“They are awesome. They are not just my athletes but my students,” Flowers said as she cheered from the bleachers. “They are great and are committed to hard work.”
Dylan, 19, sat in the stands wearing reflective sunglasses as he rested after the shot put event and waited to compete in the 50-meter dash. He worked out in the weeks prior to prepare for the meet and competes regularly, but “bowling is my favorite sport,” he said.
What he does enjoy about the event that brought in 622 athletes from across the area is, “It’s so fun, and I get to hang out with all of my friends."
Athletes per district
Duncanville — 100
Ennis — 30
Ferris — 28
Grand Prairie — 105
Italy — 9
Lancaster — 45
Life School — 54
Maypearl — 8
Midlothian — 115
Red Oak — 95
Waxahachie — 33
When Dylan is not preparing for track and field — or bowling— he works two shifts a week at IHOP in Waxahachie where he does a little bit of everything.
“I roll the silverware and clean the menus and the windows,” he explained. “I also help cook food and help them take out the trash. And, it is really cool. I love my job at IHOP.”
Dylan is exceptionally responsible at home as he explained he helps put away dishes and does the laundry. Sometimes he does driving lessons with his father who drives an older, silver Chevy truck. Cook said he does not get nervous behind the wheel, and his primary goal right now is to drive on his own.
“I’m going to learn how to drive a truck just like my dad,” Dylan expressed.
Dylan said his father plans to get a new truck and hopes to inherit his father’s old vehicle.
While Dylan talked, his long-time girlfriend, Gabby, 21, finished her pizza for lunch and proudly wore a gold medal won from the shot put event. She later competed in the 50-meter dash and the 400-meter relay race.
When Gabby received her medal, she thought, “I need to win.”
She was quick to point out Dylan as her boyfriend and said, “He’s nice and sweet and cute.”
The Waxahachie couple goes out to eat often, and Gabby said her goal in life is to get married.
Gabby also has the responsibilities associated with employment; she works at Cici’s where she helps keep the restaurant clean. Gabby said she wanted to get a job so she could, “have my own money.” She typically saves her money to buy better toys at Target or groceries. She enjoys playing with cars and trucks.
When asked to share something everyone does not know about her, Gabby replied, “I’m confident, smart and pretty and confident in everything I do and happy.”
The Special Olympics annually brings in students from all over the area to be recognized. The annual Special Olympics track meet hosted by Waxahachie ISD will be held on Tuesday, April 23 at Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium. There will be a pep rally held at the Mike Turner Gymnasium on the campus of Waxahachie High School on Thursday, April 18 to honor the district’s Special Olympic athletes.
At the end of the track season, Waxahachie ISD will host a banquet at Waxahachie Global High School from 6:30—9:30 p.m. May 3. Volunteers are still needed at the track meet and donations are much appreciated. For more information on volunteering opportunities and donations, contact June Flowers at 214-624-8215 or Margie Jeffcoat at 972-935-3018.
- - - - - -
Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450