Rotarians help special needs students reel in a good time

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Tuesday, special education students from the Picayune School District took a break from the classroom to enjoy a beautiful day at Tony and Sharon Paternostro’s pond during the Rotary Club of Picayune’s annual Fishing Rodeo.

This event is something the students look forward to every year, Rotary Club of Picayune President Jeremy Sheasby said.

“They’ll see some of us in town or at church or wherever and pull us to the side to ask when the fishing rodeo is coming up,” Sheasby said.

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Picayune Rotarians established the Fishing Rodeo as a day for the families to sit back and watch their kids have fun and relax while doing something some of them have never done, he said.

Smiling students occupied nearly every piece of real estate along the edge of the pond, fishing pole in hand, waiting for their bobbers to disappear. And eventually, a joyful scream would be heard as a fish had been caught. One of the students had never been fishing before, and as he cast his bait near an adjacent tree, he became jubilant when he reeled in his first catch, which was a decent sized large mouth bass.

“This event is so special because not only do we get to spend time with these students, but their families get to share this experience with their kids. It is one of the only times they get to fish and sometimes the first time,” Malcolm Perry, Pearl River County District II Supervisor said, who volunteered to help students during the rodeo.

After a couple of hours of fishing, the Rotary Club of Picayune fired up the grill to prepare sausage dogs, hot dogs and hamburgers for the families to enjoy.

Walgreens provided gift bags as a prize for each student. The gift bags included items such as cups, a flying disk and many more goodies, Sheasby said. The Rotary Club of Picayune provided each student with a backpack as another gift.

“We are glad we can provide this experience for them and their families and love being a part of this event every year. The kids aren’t the only ones who look forward to this day all year round,” Sheasby said.