The sky was gray with cloud cover, which was good news for the athletes on Peterson Middle School’s track. That meant that, although the day would be hot with the spirit of camaraderie and friendly competition, the temperatures wouldn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm. Not that any force in nature could have tempered the enthusiasm on display.
There were athletes, teachers, school district employees and board members, and numerous police officers and firefighters from the City of Sunnyvale’s Public Safety Department gathered at Peterson on April 11, to support and cheer on the athletes participating in a Special Olympics event. Everyone was gathered there for a series of Track and Field events as part of a program put on by the Schools Partnership program, which features the Special Education students from middle schools throughout the Santa Clara Unified School District.
The Schools Partnership Program is run by Special Olympics of Northern California. The program is designed to unify students with and without disabilities through sports and whole school involvement to create and sustain school communities that promote inclusion, acceptance and respect for all students.
The event was the third that took place in the Santa Clara Unified School District and was organized by the Special Education departments from Cabrillo, Buchser and Peterson.
The day’s events included a full welcome ceremony followed by a 100-meter race, a 200-meter race and then a 6×100 relay. Each athlete was paired with a student from one of the schools as they took their time on the track. Although the outside venue was enormous, the cheers from the assembled fans were impressive with each athlete receiving cheers and encouragement as they made their run around the track.
To finish off the event, the student volunteers formed a gauntlet and as every athlete walked through it, they were met with high fives and congratulations on their successes from the day. Each participating athlete received a ribbon for their accomplishments with lots of hugs, high fives and smiles seen everywhere.
For more information about Special Olympics of Northern California, visit their website www.sonc.org