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From the Telegram & Gazette Worcester, MA: Transcribed by

Young Special Olympian wins White House invitation
Medalist, 12, is from Westboro

WESTBORO - Chloe Prescott has won dozens of medals and ribbons competing as a Special Olympics athlete, but one of her greatest triumphs will take place off the running track and basketball court. The 12-year-old mentally disabled girl and her parents have been invited to a formal affair hosted by President Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the White House on Dec. 17.

The occasion is a dinner and evening of musical celebration to recognize the Special Olympics' 30th anniversary.

Chloe is one of six special youth athletes chosen to attend the event from a lottery in which 50 disabled athletes across the country were entered. Twelve adult special athletes, known as "global messengers," who popularize Special Olympics, also will be there.

The effervescent fifth-grader, who attends a special education program at Harvard Elementary School in Harvard, is excited about the trip to Washington.

Entertainers will include Whoopi Goldberg, Eric Clapton, Bon Jovi and Sheryl Crow.

Chloe will have to take her passport and Social Security card as proof of her identity at the security-conscious White House. And while Chloe has her dinner gown all picked out, she said she won't be bringing her family's German shepherd, Princess.

"I don't think Buddy and Princess would get along very well," she said, referring to the Clintons' famous chocolate Labrador.

Chloe's mother, Marie Prescott, said going to the White House is recognition both of her daughter's five years of Special Olympics participation and of the success of the Special Olympics itself.

"I am very proud of Chloe, and very happy to see her receiving recognition for a program that is very important to her," said Prescott. With her husband, Neal, she helped found the Westboro Unified Sports Special Olympics group in 1993.

"For mentally retarded and mentally disabled people, the Special Olympics provides an opportunity to be involved socially and athletically and to experience success that doesn't come in other areas of their lives," she said. "It brings self-esteem."

Besides her favorite basketball and track and field events, Chloe competes in swimming, soccer and softball throw, in which she has won a gold medal.

Chloe also takes part in unified sports, which pair disabled and nondisabled athletes. She plays on a unified basketball team with her brother, Ben, 10, who is not disabled. Neal Prescott is one of the coaches of the team.

Since its inception, Westboro Unified Sports, part of the Special Olympics organization, has grown to about 30 participants and has featured soccer, track, softball and basketball teams.

Special Olympics Massachusetts provides year-round training and competition for people with mental retardation and closely related developmental disabilities. Some 10,000 athletes participate in 140 competitions during the year.

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