ROCKLIN — An extremely exciting and emotional afternoon unfolded Wednesday at Whitney High School. Close to 50 special needs students from three local high schools took park in the area’s first ever Unified track meet.
Unified Sports brought together special needs kids and their families for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Wednesday was their day to shine — to show what they could do in front of dozens of friends and family.
“We like to promote it as an all-ability sporting event,” said Jennifer Kaiser, who is one of three event coordinators. “So kids in wheelchairs, kids with special needs, kids with learning disabilities, all types come together and do what they like to do, which is sports.”
The track meet brought together special needs athletes from Rocklin, Whitney and Woodcreek high schools to showcase their talents.
“They love representing their school, they love representing themselves and their friends,” said Nick French, who is also one of the coordinators.
The goal of the track meet? To give special needs students the same athletic opportunities as their peers.
“You know, the kids who have special needs are sometimes in different classes and different buildings from the ‘gen ed’ population,” said Kaiser. “So this is giving them a chance to come out and see them in a different way..like, ‘oh they can run the 100 (meter) and they’re fast!'”
Special needs students make up about 10 percent of a school’s population, according to Kaiser. The goal going forward is to involve as many schools as they can in sporting events like this.