15-year anniversary

15-year anniversary

Special Stars is observing its 15-year anniversary in 2019. It was first formed in Highlands County and has now grown to include Hardee, Okeechobee and southern Polk counties. Currently, several hundred adults and children are participants in this beneficial program.

Special STARS expanded into Okeechobee County this year by offering a track and field  competition in the fall for approximately 90 children and adults. Athletes are registering and participating in sports and recreational activities offered by the program.

There are more than 14 sports and eight recreational activities provided throughout the year in Highlands County. Sports include horseshoes, bocce, shuffleboard, track and field, cycling, softball, tennis, equestrian, swimming, bowling, basketball, cheerleading, volleyball and kickball. Recreational events include parties, dances, ball games, talent show and theater shows.

In Hardee County, 50 athletes enjoyed bowling and participating with Highlands County athletes in other sports and events. Although Highlands has not been able to bowl because of the bowling alley being destroyed, a Bowling Fun Day is being planned out of town for athletes this summer.

Special STARS coordinates an equestrian program in May with Heartland Horses & Equine Activities and Learning, Inc. Riders train on horseback before being judged during a horse show to win awards.

The Special STARS Softball Classic raises money for the program and provides an opportunity for special athletes to play softball along with partners in the community. 

School students participated in the Highlands County School District Track & Field event in the spring. 


There are approximately 180 students competing in Special STARS. Some children also participated in the other sports and recreational programs offered throughout the year

Annual Christmas Party

Annual Christmas Party

Special STARS hosted its annual Christmas Party on Dec. 15 at the Highlands County Agri-Civic Center with more than 250 athletes, caregivers, volunteers and family members attending. Athletes came from Highlands, Hardee, Okeechobee and southern Polk counties. The Singha family once again hosted the event and served a lunch prepared by Outback Steakhouse to all the guests. Door prizes were given away and 12 lucky winners won cash prizes. One athlete even won an entire Christmas tree with decorations. Santa made an appearance and presented shadow boxes made by Bobby and Michael Paradise. Bagwell Lumber also assisted with the construction of these boxes which can be used by the athletes to display their medals and ribbons. Each gift was valued at $75. Rick Arnold played music for dancing.

Special STARS athletes

Special STARS athletes

Special STARS athletes enjoyed playing volleyball with South Florida State College Volleyball Team on Nov. 10 at SFSC gym in Avon Park.

The volleyball team taught some basic skill techniques to the athletes and then played a couple games with them.

More importantly, it was about building friendships and everyone enjoyed posing in pictures with their favorite volleyball player.

Thanks Coach Kim Crawford and SFSC Volleyball team for spending the day with Special STARS

2018 Derby Event Photos

2018 Derby Event Photos

Awesome event tonight. Special thank you to our Sebring Derby Sponsors Johnson Stivender, Heacock Insurance, Southwood Garage Doors, Glades Electric. Emcees Mike Waldron and Liz Barber did an exceptional job at making our event a blast.