Hundreds of CCSD students compete in Special Olympics school games

The heat didn't stop kids from participating in a special track meet Thursday and Friday.

Around 1,500 students from 22 Clark County School District elementary, middle and high schools went to Bonanza High School for the Special Olympics Southern Nevada School Games. 

Special education students got to compete in Special Olympics track and field events and earned medals for their accomplishments. General education students joined as Unified Partners, competing with their special education peers on the same relays.

"There's no better way to play unified than have a competition like this and allow everybody compete on the same track," said Harry Mong, regional sports director for Special Olympics Nevada. "We do this unified competition with basketball and soccer also."

Unified Sports encourages inclusion, awareness and respect at an early age.

"Why events like this are so critical, we with Special Olympics want to move to a world where there's more inclusion," said David Solo, president and CEO Special Olympics of Northern California and Nevada. "... Through our work promoting inclusion, we reduce bullying, promote friendships, tolerance and understanding."

This week's event celebrated 15 years of the Southern Nevada School Games.

"This is just like a track meet. We do 50 meter and 100 meter races. We also do 25 meter races for kids that have more disability that might use a wheelchair or a walker," said Barb Chambers, coordinator for the CCSD Adapted Physical Education Department.

There were also shot put, javelin and long jump events. While the event is like your average track meet, teamwork was a large part of the event.

"The biggest thing for us is we want to see our students model that champion unified, inclusion model," said Leinell Lasike, Special Olympics project facilitator for CCSD. "We saw and observed a few schools today that did just exactly what we'd like. We want their peers and their partners with special needs to be working together as a unit and achieving all the goals that they have out here together."

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