Special Olympics returns to the Monterey Peninsula – Monterey Herald

0

“Let me win, but if I can’t win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

It was the oath that concluded the opening ceremony of the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District’s 2022 Special Olympics track and field competition.

About 300 students from 12 schools in the district attended Friday’s event at Seaside High School. The event marked the first in-person Special Olympics since the pandemic.

“The event for us is an opportunity to show inclusion at its best,” said Katie Rivera, district senior director for special education.

Special Olympics was founded in 1968 and hosts more than 100,000 competitions in 172 countries for people of all abilities with an intellectual disability, cognitive delay or developmental disability.

In 2015, the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District joined the Special Olympics Northern California Schools Partnership program, which provides community sports in 44 area counties. Through this partnership, the district offers three main events throughout the year, including the Friday track and field event.

“I love seeing our kids recognized because they aren’t usually celebrated at sporting events, so it’s really nice to see them celebrated,” said District Adapted Physical Education Specialist Jennifer Rincon. . “They are so excited to be in the races and the events.”

More than 26,000 athletes and 611 schools participate in programs run by Special Olympics Northern California. The organization offers free sports training and competitions for people with intellectual disabilities aged 2 and over. While the majority of athletes are young people, 30% are adults aged 22 and over.

Due to the pandemic, the district has been hosting virtual Special Olympics for two years. Rivera explained that typically the event is held at Monterey Peninsula College and includes more than 600 county athletes.

“It’s a little low-key, but we’re starting slow for our first in-person meeting,” she admitted.

The day began with a parade bringing together all the students and schools participating in the events. After the parade, Seaside High School Junior and Master of Ceremonies Jordie Casas Reyes gave opening remarks and a brief explanation of the event. A few students also participated in the opening ceremony, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, the Special Olympics Pledge and thanking everyone for coming.

“Welcome and thank you for coming to our first Special Olympics track and field event in two years,” said student Jacob. “We are all so happy that we can all be together again.”

Participants were able to compete in a variety of track and field events, including the mile race, 400m race, 100m race, 50m race, wheelchair races, long jump and a javelin throw event.

Marina High School student Miguel won the mile race with a time of five minutes and 59 seconds.

Families, teachers, staff and students cheered on participants as they ran around the track. Teachers, assistants and students ran alongside the participants to support and encourage them throughout the race.

The students’ faces lit up as they crossed the finish line.

For Rivera, the best part of the day was watching the students’ confidence and self-esteem increase as they completed various events and challenged themselves.

This year’s Special Olympics was Casas Reyes’ first time volunteering for the event, but he plans to return. He said events like Special Olympics are important because they give students the chance to have the same opportunities as other students.

“They’re not recognized enough as it is,” he said. “I feel like through this people will hopefully have a more open mind for students with disabilities. I think it’s a great opportunity for them. »

  • In 2015, the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District joined the Special Olympics Northern California Schools Partnership program, which provides community sports in 44 area counties. Through this partnership, the district offers three main events throughout the year, including the Friday track and field event (Molly Gibbs – Monterey Herald).

  • The faces of the students lit up as they crossed the finish line,...

    The students’ faces lit up as they crossed the finish line, cheering and hugging the fans who cheered loudly from the sidelines (Molly Gibbs – Monterey Herald).

  • “Let me win, but if I can’t win, let me be brave in the attempt.” It was the oath that concluded the opening ceremony of the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District’s 2022 Special Olympics track and field competition (Molly Gibbs – Monterey Herald).

  • “The event for us is an opportunity to show inclusion at its best,” said Katie Rivera, district senior director for special education (Molly Gibbs – Monterey Herald).

  • A javelin throwing event was one of the participants' activities...

    A javelin throwing event was one of the activities participants could take part in at this year’s Special Olympics (Molly Gibbs – Monterey Herald).

  • Participants were able to compete in a variety of tracks...

    Participants were able to compete in a variety of track and field events, including the mile race, 400m race, 100m race, 50m race, wheelchair races, long jump and a javelin throw event (Molly Gibbs – Monterey Herald).

  • Families, teachers, staff and students cheered on attendees as they...

    Families, teachers, staff and students cheered on participants as they ran around the track. Teachers, aides and students ran alongside the participants to support and encourage them throughout the race (Molly Gibbs – Monterey Herald).

  • This year's event marked the first in-person Special Olympics since...

    This year’s event marked the first in-person Special Olympics since the pandemic. Due to the pandemic, the district has been hosting virtual Special Olympics for two years (Molly Gibbs – Monterey Herald).

  • Marina High School student Miguel won the mile race with...

    Marina High School student Miguel won the mile race with a time of five minutes and 59 seconds (Molly Gibbs – Monterey Herald).

  • A javelin throwing event was one of the participants' activities...

    A javelin throwing event was one of the activities participants could take part in at this year’s Special Olympics (Molly Gibbs – Monterey Herald).

  • Participants were able to compete in a variety of tracks...

    Participants were able to compete in a variety of track and field events, including the mile race, 400m race, 100m race, 50m race, wheelchair races, long jump and a javelin throw event (Molly Gibbs – Monterey Herald).

  • About 300 students from 12 schools in the district participated...

    About 300 students from 12 schools in the district attended Friday’s event at Seaside High School. The event marked the first in-person Special Olympics since the pandemic (Molly Gibbs – Monterey Herald).

  • Families, teachers, staff and students cheered on attendees as they...

    Families, teachers, staff and students cheered on participants as they ran around the track. Teachers, aides and students ran alongside the participants to support and encourage them throughout the race (Molly Gibbs – Monterey Herald).

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.