Kiwanis Fishing Rodeo a hit
Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 23, 2016
Friday, several smiling faces were gathered around the lake at Lee Conference Center in McNeill.
Those smiles belonged to the special needs students from the Pearl River Central School District and members of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Picayune Area.
The reason for the glee on their faces was due to their participation in the civic organization’s annual fishing rodeo.
“Our club’s mission is to cater to the special needs individuals in our community,” Kiwanis Club of Greater Picayune Area President Tom Milar said. “The rodeo and Special Olympics are two of the field day activities we host each year.”
For eight years, the club has hosted a fishing rodeo and Kiwanians said they couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day.
“When they catch that first fish, that smile is just so big,” Milar said. “They get super excited.”
Students with disabilities traveled by bus from Pearl River Central middle and high school to McNeill.
Mike Posey, Pearl River County School District’s student services director, said the children love this event.
“Our district, parents, students and teachers appreciate the Kiwanis Club for supporting our kids with disabilities,” Posey said. “They also sponsor families during the holidays.”
Members of Pearl River Central High School’s NJROTC and the Bass Assassins Team also volunteered their time to help participants catch fish. Guy Stegall with the Bass Assassins donated a trophy for the participant who caught the biggest fish.
“The schools tell us every year that students look forward to both field days,” Kiwanis Club member Wayne Gouguet said.
The Kiwanis Club also presented a check in the amount of $2,300 to Posey and Pearl River County School District Superintendent Alan Lumpkin during the rodeo. The funds will be used to purchase an amplified audio system for hearing impaired students, Posey said.
Natalie Harberson, a junior, sat at the lake’s edge with her grandfather and Kiwanis member Doug Mooney.
Mooney said Harberson is his buddy and they often fish at his home.
“I already caught two little ones,” she said. “But I’m still waiting on the biggest one.”