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Team Work: WCCUSD, Special Olympics Partner for Third Annual Special Olympics Basketball Tournament

A West Contra Costa Unified School District student participates in the 3rd Annual Special Olympics Basketball Tournament.

By Destiny Caster
ECHS Senior

Just before the Thanksgiving Break, the West Contra Costa Unified School District and the Special Olympics of Northern California partnered on November 20 to host the third annual Special Olympics basketball tournament.

Students from around the district came to El Cerrito High School to showcase their athletic skills and sportsmanship.

The opening ceremony included the walking of the Olympic torch and the singing of the National Anthem by El Cerrito High School Acapella club.

“[It] was such a memorable experience,'' said Tristan Simbulan, Special Education Teacher and El Cerrito High School Coordinator for Special Olympics of Northern California.

The main event took place in the big gym where schools competed in a round-robin style basketball tournament.

“The kids had fun. It was good seeing kids from before who graduated,” said Patsy Carson, a Special Education Aide at El Cerrito High School. “I cried … the joy of seeing the kids was so emotional.” 

A WCCUSD students participates in drills at the 3rd Annual Special Olympics Basketball tournament.  Crespi, DeJean, Korematsu and Pinole Middle schools and De Anza, El Cerrito, Hercules, Kennedy and Richmond high schools and the Transition Program all competed and gave high fives to their teammates each time they scored a point. 

Students of all abilities participated with different games in the small gym that featured skills and drills stations.

“As a parent, I was grateful that this event was so inclusive, with students from the general ECHS population participating alongside students in special education,” said Danielle Storer, El Cerrito High School’s James Morehouse Project Director.

The success of the event left participants and organizers excited for next year.

“It was truly a happy experience, said El Cerrito High School Junior Jordin Walker. “I’m looking forward to participate in next year’s event.”