The Ventura County Special Olympics Track Meet


Ian Lattimer

James Labsilica runs the 100 meter event at the Special Olympics Track Meet, on Friday, April 19, 2019.

The Special Olympics Unified Sports Club hosted a track and field meet in Cam High’s stadium for high school students with disabilities.

The meet started at 9:00 A.M. on Friday, April 12 for field events and 10:30 A.M. for running events. Students from Cam High, Buena High School, Rio Mesa High School, Fillmore High School, Westlake High School, Newbury Park High School, and Santa Barbara High School came to participate in the meet.

Some of Cam High’s teachers chose to attend the meet with their students to watch the events and support Cam High’s Special Education Student-Athletes. Additionally, Kona Ice of Ventura’s food truck sold shaved ice to students at the meet.

Junior Crosby Unseth said, “I thought the weather was fairly hot so it was a great idea for the shaved ice truck to come.”

Special Olympics is the world’s largest non-profit organization for intellectually disabled people, and their mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competitions for people with disabilities in order to give them opportunities and foster an open and friendly environment.

Cam High Athletic Director Ms. Mary Perez said, “Cam High became involved with the event because the Ventura County Special Olympics coordinator approached Cam High, asking if we wanted to be a part of the event. We said ‘we would absolutely want to participate’ since we have been trying to get events like this started.”

Students at Cam High volunteered to set up and coordinate different aspects of the meet. Cam High senior Olivia Flores said, “Personally, I chose to help out because I thought it would be a great learning experience, an opportunity to bond with my teammates, and simply because I enjoy acts of service, in all shapes and forms. I helped collect the results and pass out the awards to the athletes who participated in the meet. Although I didn’t get to interact much with the athletes until the awards ceremony itself, it was really beautiful seeing all of their faces light up as they passed through the finish line of each place, regardless of where they ranked. I hope to gain more experiences like this in the future.”

Junior Vivian Hoang said, “I think that it is important to hold these kinds of events to include the students and make them feel more welcome. The event includes them because intellectually disabled students do not generally have these kinds of opportunities.”

All athletes received medals for their participation in the track and field meet.