Picayune Rotary Club hosts fishing rodeo for students with special needs

Makayla Afford celebrates her catch.
Makayla Afford celebrates her catch.
Makayla Afford, James Jenkins, Haley Jenkins, and Kira Trotter celebrate a catch.
Makayla Afford, James Jenkins, Haley Jenkins, and Kira Trotter celebrate a catch.

PICAYUNE, MS (WLOX) - A group of Picayune students with special needs got to skip school Tuesday for a fishing trip. It was part of the Rotary Club of Picayune's annual Fishing Rodeo. With fishing gear in hand, around 50 students spent the day by the lake.

Haley Jenkins and her father got the biggest catch of the day. But seeing his daughter light up with happiness was even more important to James than catching a fish.

"I love seeing her have a good time and coming to these events every year like this. I'm glad they hold them for these kids. It's really nice," said Jenkins.

The Picayune Rotary Club has been holding this event for around 15 years. Mark Herring is Rotary Club president. He said even though he's only been president for part of that time, he has seen the difference the day makes.

"It means the world to them. The teachers tell us that every year, they're looking for it. Always asking, 'When are we going fishing? When are we going fishing?'" said Herring.

The day means a lot to the Rotary Club as well. "This is the day that defines us as Rotarians. Service above self," said Herring.

This is the 5th year the rodeo has been held at the home of Sharon and Tony Paternostro in Carriere. Sharon said providing a day of fun for the kids is more than enough reason to offer up her property for the event.

"We are blessed and we love to give it back. And these kids are the perfect way to do it," said Paternostro.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol also came out for the day to help with the rodeo. The Picayune Rotary Club plans to continue this event for as many years as possible.

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