12th Annual Hart Games set for Monday

Valencia senior Mitchell Seidel runs and wins the 50 meter dash at the Hart Games 11th Annual Track and Field Meet at Valencia High School on Monday, March 20, 2023. Chris Torres/The Signal
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News release 

Nearly 350 special education students from seven schools across the William S. Hart Union High School District are scheduled to compete in the 12th Annual Hart Games on Monday at Valencia High School. 

The event is scheduled 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with opening ceremonies starting at 10 a.m. sharp with a ceremonial lap and the national anthem. 

Approximately 350 special education students from seven schools (La Mesa, Rio Norte, Rancho Pico and Arroyo Seco junior high schools and Canyon, Golden Valley and Valencia high schools) along with three other schools outside of the district (Trinity Classical Academy, Agape Village and Santa Clarita Valley International School) will compete at the yearly track and field meet, sponsored and organized by Hart district’s Adapted Physical Education Department. 

The games are a culmination of a physical education track and field unit and a way for special needs students to showcase their skills and build camaraderie. The competition is fierce — but friendly.  

“We are so proud of the athletes that are competing this year. They have been training diligently and are very excited,” Patti Miller, director of the Hart Games, said in a news release. “The students who compete take it seriously, but we ensure they all have fun while doing so.” 

All track athletes receive ribbons as they cross the finish line. No matter the place or pace, volunteers make every athlete feel as if they won first as they hand them their ribbons with high fives, “knuckles” and cheers.  

“Our special athletes will bask in the glow of being the center of attention in an arena that is typically reserved for the physically gifted,” Miller added. “Our athletes have to face many challenges even to participate, so this is a day to celebrate their accomplishments.” 

Miller said the event has thrived for a dozen years because of the outstanding support and hard work from the Hart district’s teachers and approximately 90 volunteers and parents who donate their time to this program. “A huge thank you to our Adapted Physical Education Department for making this happen,” she said. “We are grateful.” 

The Hart Games include: 

● 50 yard dash, 100 yard dash, 200 meter dash. 

● 100 yard hurdles. 

● 4 x 100 baton relay. 

● Running long jump. 

● High jump. 

● Shot put, discus, javelin and softball throw. 

Events take place simultaneously across the field with students competing for ribbons. 

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