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Released October 4, 2004

FRATERNITY MEMBERS HIT THE FIELD FOR SPECIAL OLYMPICS

HATTIESBURG -- Kappa Sigma fraternity at The University of Southern Mississippi raised $8,000 for Special Olympics last year, and the members are hoping to double that amount this year. The second annual Kappa Sigma Charity Baseball Classic will take place on Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. at Pete Taylor Park.

There are currently 75 active Special Olympic participants ranging in age from 19 to 65 in Area 1, which will be receiving the donation. Area 1 athletes participate in more than 10 different sports throughout the year and practice every Thursday from 4 - 6 p.m. at the Family Y. These athletes are preparing now for the fall state games, which will take place in Madison on Oct.16.

"What the Kappa Sigmas are doing for Area 1 Special Olympics means so much to the athletes," said Jenny Panquerne, Area 1 director for Special Olympics and a Southern Miss student. "They get so excited about being able to interact with them at the ballgame and can't wait to cheer both teams on."

"It is an unbelievable feeling to do this for Special Olympics," said Nick Alexander, Kappa Sigma chairman for the baseball classic. During the game, the Special Olympians run the bases and are introduced to the crowd. "We are proud to be able to raise this money for these special athletes, but more than being able to raise the money, it is an indescribable feeling to see the excitement on their faces when they are out on the field. I don't think there is a dry eye in the stands after that," said Alexander.

Tickets for the game are $1. Proceeds from ticket sales along with concession sales and donations collected during the game are donated to Special Olympics. "We hope to double our donation this year and triple it next year," said Alexander.

Panquerne describes the partnership as a "win - win." "It is a winning situation for both sides. The athletes are winning because they are having peer interaction with the Kappa Sigmas, and the fraternity is winning because they are learning a life lesson that helping people with disabilities causes a sensation that is an amazing feeling inside," she said.

"As our athletes always say, 'Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.' This is a quote that everyone can learn a lesson from."

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November 23, 2004 9:23 AM