The Special Olympics returns to in-person since the COVID-19 pandemic


Aisha Shafik

The 2022-2023 Special Olympics event was held at Wilcox High School.

On Nov. 16, SCHS, Wilcox High School and MacDonald High School brought together their students for the Special Olympics, an event held for special education students to compete in different sports. The Special Olympics made its return since the COVID-19 pandemic for the 2022-2023 school year.

The two main sports were soccer and bowling. Teachers and student helpers created an event for special education students. SCHS sophomore Ruby Goodwin, assisted in the event, found the Special Olympics to be a warming experience. 

“It was cool to see how these various schools have come together to support their students,” Goodwin said. “It was cool to see the student volunteers learning about compassion, empathy and helping others.”

Many students participated in the activities, and SCHS sophomore Varsha Venkateswaran felt the importance of the event.

“We definitely learned from the students, and everyone was getting involved and helping in their own way,” Venkateswaran said. “I feel like especially with the teachers organizing this whole event, it was definitely a really fun experience that I haven’t experienced before.”

To be able to create different events for their students, special education teacher Shinichi Hirano helps organize events like the Special Olympics.

“Santa Clara Unified has a committee that works with the Special Olympics, and all the teachers are part of this committee,” Hirano said. “We meet and organize what events we are going to do, and with collaboration, we get to it.” 

In addition to the return of the event, the program is planning to implement changes to help foster more school spirit among the students and staff. 

“We haven’t ever done a spring (event), but this is the first year that we are going to do a spring event,” Hirano said. “We’ve had some conversations about what events we can do. As of right now, our event is going to be kickball.

With more additions to come, the Special Olympics brought special education students together to have friendly competitions, according to Hirano, leading to the creation of school spirit among them.  

“It is pretty amazing how everyone comes together,” Hirano said. “I think it is a safe environment for everybody.”