Students, volunteers, teachers, parents and friends gathered at Valencia High School on Monday to witness more than 300 student athletes participate in the ninth annual Hart Games.
Sponsored by the William S. Hart Union High School District’s Adapted Physical Education Department and the Special Olympics, the districtwide competition brought together special education students from across the valley to participate in a track and field meet.
The Hart Games also featured general education students who were helping others in the events, even participating alongside the students with special needs.
“We can’t ever stop because you see the smiles on their faces… Some kids are not in any sports, any extracurricular activities other than going to school so this is amazing for them and amazing for their parents,” said Patti Miller, an adaptive PE teacher in the Hart District and a coordinator of the Hart Games. “All you have to look in any direction and you know this is amazing event that we need to keep doing for forever.”
After the opening ceremonies, students participated in events like the 4×100 relay, 50-yard dash, 100-yard dash, 100 yard hurdles, long jump, high jump, shot put, softball throw, modified javelin throw and modified discuss throw.
Each year, students spend months preparing for the Hart Games during their adaptive PE classes. At the games, students have the opportunity to compete against their peers, see friends from other schools and have fun together.
The goal of the Hart Games is to stimulate student interest in physical activity among students receiving specialized instruction.
Participants in this year’s Hart Games included: La Mesa Junior High School, Rancho Pico Junior High School, Rio Norte Junior High School, Sierra Vista Junior High School, Canyon High School, Golden Valley High School, Valencia High School and Trinity Classical Academy’s Image Dei School.
Students on Valencia High School’s Track Team also helped organize equipment for the event and provided more than 40 volunteers to help students compete and cheer participants on.
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