Chesterfield athlete returns from Special Olympics to ‘unexpected’ homecoming

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Chesterfield County school made sure one of their own was surrounded by love when she returned home from the Special Olympics in Austria.

8-year-old Taylor Carpenter won silver at the games. Her parents told 8News the welcome they received when Taylor returned to school on Monday left them speechless.

“The surprise they had for her was just a mixing bowl of emotions,” Taylor’s dad, Michael Carpenter, said.

 

The Carpenters assumed Taylor would receive something special when she returned to school, but they never expected such a warm welcome.

“We always felt that they completely loved Taylor,” M. Carpenter said, “but never expected this.”

The past two weeks for the Carpenter family has been a whirlwind. They traveled to Paris before going to the Special Olympics World Games in Austria. It was there Taylor’s dance routine earned her a silver medal.

“I don’t really think any more about her having any disabilities. I think about her having even more abilities.”

“There’s a picture of her just still on stage looking at the medal and looking at it with pride,” M. Carpenter said. “As a parent, there is nothing else that you could think of for a child than that.”

The Carpenters said seeing their daughter accomplish her goals, and being surrounded by others who embrace their special abilities, taught them a lesson they hope everyone can learn from.

“It doesn’t matter what you were born with, that you really can achieve goals and dreams,” said Taylor’s mother, Jeanette Carpenter.

M. Carpenter added, “I don’t really think any more about her having any disabilities. I think about her having even more abilities.”

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