Students welcome Special Olympic athletes


Students hold signs to welcome the Special Olympic athletes. Credit: Caitlin Chung/ Chronicle

Jeanine Kim

Students and faculty volunteers cheered as athletes who participated in sporting events during the third annual Special Olympics Unified Game Day on April 26.

During a short assembly in Taper Gym, Special Olympics Gold Medal Winner Lucy Meyer spoke to the student body and faculty about her journey. Meyer serves as an ambassador for the partnership between UNICEF USA and Special Olympics for Children with Disabilities.

Rachel Grode ’19, who has been working with the Special Olympics Help Group for many years, was one of the main coordinators of the Unified Game Day, and helped organize athlete arrival and designating which sports would be included.

“It has been such an incredible experience spearheading the event and I will miss being a part of the planning process, but I know that the event will continue past my time at Harvard-Westlake and I look forward to seeing it progress,” Grode said.

After the speech, students filed onto the track where they formed a “Tunnel of Love.” Students high-fived the athletes as they ran through the track before the games began.

Members of Community Council and other student volunteers helped out during the event and participated in basketball, soccer, track and bowling with the athletes.

This event marked the end of this year’s second Community Service Week, in which Community Council members promoted community service clubs and announced upcoming outreach opportunities.

“This year’s event could not have gone better,” Grode said. “There were so many moving parts and everything came together beautifully.”