On Your Marks, Get Set, Go

Tennis Ball Throw, 25/50 Meter Race Walk, Running Long Jump, Softball Throw, 25/50 Meter Motorized Wheelchair Race and 25/50 Meter Assisted Push Wheelchair Race are some of the competitions hundreds of kids from a number of school will take part in during the LAUSD East Valley Spring games.

Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) and Adapted Physical Education Teachers from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) have teamed up for the Ninth Annual LAUSD Spring Games. 

Events will take place over five days at five different schools.

Established eight years ago as a unique partnership between the district’s Adapted Physical Education Program and Special Olympics Southern California, the games offer sports training and competition for differently abled kids throughout the district. 

Some may have cognitive problems, mental challenges, are wheelchair bound or any number of special needs.

But that doesn’t take away from their desire to win and compete. The games can be just as exciting as any other sports competition, with schools and teams trying their best, making teachers, parents and caretakers proud.

The event will be the culmination of a sports training program in March that will prepare student-athletes to compete in a variety of track and field events. Ninety-four schools are participating in the Track & Field Sports Training program and the 2015 LAUSD/Special Olympics Spring Games. 

Some of the east San Fernando Valley schools include: Apperson Elementary School in Sunland, Canterbury Elementary School in Pacoima, O’Melveny Elementary School in San Fernando, Sunland Elementary, as well as Pacoima, San Fernando and Sun Valley middle schools. 

Students from those and several other schools will gather at Cesar Chavez Learning Academy March 18 to compete in a number of track and field events appropriate for all ages and ability levels.

All the competitions are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Adapted physical education teachers offer sports training and athletic competition programs for students at Los Angeles Unified School District with intellectual disabilities and other special needs. The training program provides opportunities to learn through sports competition, develop all aspects of total fitness, and promote life-long fitness skills that helps student athletes lead a more productive and independent life, notes the LAUSD. The games are a preview for this year’s 2015 Special Olympic World Summer Games that will take place in Los Angeles.

LAUSD was one of the first districts in the country to be approached by the Special Olympics to participate in the program, in 2006. Since then, nearly 200 schools and almost 1,000 students district-wide have gotten involved.

In addition to track and field events, kids also play soccer in the fall. They can also sign up for collaborative teams, in which special needs students play alongside the general population of children.

 Chavez High School is located at 1001 Arroyo Ave. in San Fernando.

The next competition  in the Valley takes place Friday March 27th at Chaminade High School, 7500 Chaminade Ave. in West Hills.