Cam High’s Unified Sports Team Plays Simi Valley


Ian Lattimer

The Special Olympics game was played at Cam High on Feb. 13, 2019.

Cam High and Simi Valley High School’s students with special needs recently participated in a basketball game arranged by the Special Olympics Unified Sports Club.

The event took place in Cam High’s basketball stadium, on Feb. 13 during third period, and ended at the beginning of fourth period, with Simi Valley winning 50-40.

The game started with an introduction of the club’s campaign, where juniors and co-presidents of the Unified Sports Club Leah Rogers and Camille Michalak explained why it is important to refrain from using the “r-word” (retarded) as a sign of respect. T-shirts with the word “respect” were sold at the ASB window for $5 and the cheer team wore them to show their support.

During the course of the special Olympics, students and staff cheered on both teams. Cam High’s cheer team also performed during halftime.

The Special Olympics includes a variety of sports designed to allow students with special needs to have fun. This year, Ms. Mary Perez, Cam High’s athletic director and physical education teacher, said, “Camarillo High School this year decided to focus on soccer, basketball, and track and field.”

Brandt Skolnick, senior and secretary of the Unified Sports Club, said, “I think [the game] went really well. I think everyone had a lot of fun. It made me proud, because we put a lot of time and effort into doing this. We spend our lunches here; we spend our free time trying to make sure everything goes right; we leave class to make sure these kids have the best experience, and to see that the school supports it, makes us feel really good and it makes the athletes on the playing field feel even better.”

Perez said, “Camarillo High School has been so supportive. The students just take all of this in. They’re cheering for both teams, they get it. They’re trying to include everyone,” said Perez.

Both teams set aside time for practices. Brett McNulty, adaptive physical education teacher for Simi Valley, said, “We had practices every other Wednesday; we were lucky enough to have some peer tutors in my PE classes during the day. We have been practicing a little bit of basketball, working on the skills.”

Roosevelt “Roo” Bolden, one of the coaches for Cam High’s Unified Sports team, had a few students volunteer to help the special athletes. He said, “They work with them every Tuesday at lunch. We make it fun, like a game, to get them oriented to the sport.”

Both coaches made adjustments to practices to ensure all students could have fun. For example, the coaches sometimes used a visual model, or a graphical representation of objects (e.g. charts, diagrams). Furthermore, students that did not usually have the strength to put the ball into the basketball hoops had the option to use a human basket to score points. Both teams focused on teamwork and fun.

Cam High’s team played basketball at Rio Mesa on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 11:15 A.M.