Preparations are ramping up and the excitement is building as South Mississippi gets ready to welcome home Olympic gold medalist Brittney Reese. When she comes back Saturday night, in the crowd will be more than 100 little faces from Pass Road Elementary.
Brittney Reese once attended Pass Road Elementary. Since she won the gold in London, the school has been making secret plans to honor the Olympic star. They want Reese to know she will always have a family at Pass Road.
On Friday, second graders decorated posters with phrases like "Congratulations Brittney," "Welcome Home," and "Brittney, You Are Dynamite."
The children hope their creativity will capture the attention of Reese when she arrives at the airport Saturday. The words expressed their immense pride in the Olympic champion.
"Exciting!" said seven year old Wallace Switzer. "She won for the USA."
And every class watched a video of that incredible moment when Reese made the leap to Olympic stardom.
"She won the gold medal and she did the long jump," said seven year old Kaylee Hammontree. "It was awesome!"
Students and teachers at Pass Road Elementary proudly claim Brittney Reese as their very own. After all, she once walked those halls as a child.
"That was awesome, too, because I'm going to the same school that she went to," said Kaylee.
When asked what Reese's achievement means, Kaylee replied, "That I can do that, too. I want to compete like her in the Olympics."
The school is working behind the scenes to organize an assembly to honor their golden girl.
"A Brittney Reese Day. We have a name out there on the marquee and I'm hoping you're not watching this. It's a secret," said Pass Road Elementary Principal Kenny Hudson.
They want to welcome her back to the Gulfport school where her journey began.
"Kids are dreaming at night about what they can become and what they can achieve and all that does is inspire them that they can do. So right now they're seeing it. They understand that she was here. So they're hoping one day that they can compete and bring home a gold medal," said Hudson.
"She is the bomb and she's exciting," said Kaylee.
Pass Road Elementary has started an Olympics obstacle course and the school hopes the winners of that competition will get their picture taken with Brittney Reese. And the mural will hang at the school to remind everyone that she's a Pass Road graduate.
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