Special Olympics a success


Kevin Gutierrez

Special needs students from multiple schools came to Stagg to participate in the Special Olympics held on April 12. A student from Stagg is in the lead while the others attempt to catch up.

ASB student Kaylan Daranikone was part of the helping crew of the event known as the Special Olympics, which the campus hosted April 10. Daranikone stayed busy that day assisting in the sandpit. “My experience was fun honestly. I got to see kids participate in many of the stations.”

This was the school’s second year of hosting the Special Olympics. Stagg hosts the track and field events, other schools host different sports during the school year as well. Special education students from around Stockton Unified School District came together to compete in adapted stations. These included the 50-meter dash, shot put, long jump, javelin, discus, hurdles and the high jump.

Such an event was possible with the help of many leadership students along with track and field runners. Overseeing this event was Dr. Jovan Jacobs, the district’s executive director of special education.She said, “We have a partnership with the Special Olympics Northern California team.”

Financially, the event is helped out by them as well. “They provide a stipend to help offset some of the costs like transportation and they are here to support us,” Jacobs said.

Coordinating an event like this takes time. Assistant Principal Gary Phillips said, “The date was set almost at the beginning of the school year and we knew about it.” Throughout the following months a committee would join and plan more thoroughly.

Teacher Matthew Kent from Cesar Chavez High School also weighed in on the laborious task of preparations. He said, “For us it’s a lot of work, I’m not going to lie. We have to get everything together, all the paperwork, all the medical stuff, and make sure the kids are safe the entire time so it’s really stressful for teachers.”

However, he is convinced it is all worthwhile. “It’s beneficial for the kids so we do it for them. I think they are having a great time, the majority of my kids were.”

Daranikone also saw and shared this feeling with the participants. “I had never helped in the special olympics so it was fun to see the children jumping in the sandpit and enjoying themselves.” The most fulfilling part of helping for her was this, “After I would cheer them on, they would give me a high five and that just made me feel good.”