Surry County Special Olympics athletes prepare for April games

PILOT MOUNTAIN, N.C. -- Special Olympics athletes at East Surry High School are getting ready for the April games.

"I'm going to win, with my buddy," said athlete Cole Akers, making reference to his team partner Chris Cosgrove.

"He's always got something funny to say," said Cosgrove, a senior who has worked with Akers for two years. "It's very rewarding."

Like many schools, East Surry High School pairs up students with athletes.

"We are very fortunate at East Surry to have such a great group of regular students that love our kids," said teacher Ashley Powell, who believes the experience teaches students lifelong lessons. "They are more open when they get out in the world to see people with disabilities, they don't see them as different anymore."

The pairs are set to start training next week for the 39th games in Surry County scheduled for April.