Sunnyslope Hosts GUHSD Special Olympics Track Meet

Brooklin Curtis and Cloe Tinard

Sunnyslope High School hosted a unified track and field meet on March 28 for every school in the district. 

The event combined inclusivity, competition and fun for every student involved: there were 18 events and nine teams competed. 

 Washington. Cortez, Greenway, Moon Valley, Apollo, Sunnyslope, Independence, and Thunderbird High School each participated. 

The schools collaborated with the Special Olympics, allowing for a wider range of competitions.

“There are only six unified events, but with Special Olympics we have got a plethora of different events that we can do to try to include as many athletes as we can.” said Unified Sports Advisor Michael Sidebottom.

The unified sports team participated in events such as the wheelchair races, 100 meter walk, 25 meter assisted walk/run, and a tennis and softball throw.

Everyone was able to have a fun experience and participate in any of the activities. 

Sidebottom shared that “You watch a kid compete in an event… and their expression just melts your heart,” said Sidebottom.

Senior Maddox Carbajal shared a similar sentiment : “My favorite part of this event is just being able to see the kids smile, run, and have fun.”

With many schools attending, it was difficult to be organized, but student and faculty volunteers helped orchestrate the event. 

For example, Sunnyslope Track Coach Sam Jacobs helped with the shot and softball throw by ensuring the event went smoothly, and Sunnyslope Track Coach Joshua Cunningham signaled the start for each race. 

The event encompassed the principles of inclusion that the Glendale Union High School district strives to create.

“It’s really cool to see the inclusion that we try to create at all our campuses come together like this,” said Jacobs.

For the students, it is an opportunity for them to socialize and compete with their friends. 

Unified Student Athlete Evan said, “I really liked seeing my friends and winning a trophy.” 

The volunteers did an amazing job creating a fun and inclusive track meet where every athlete left with a trophy.