A Winning Day for Help Group Student Athletes at the 6th Annual Special Olympics Games Hosted by Harvard Westlake


On Friday, April 14, 60 students from The Help Group’s Bridgeport School participated in the 6th Annual Special Olympics Game Day hosted by Harvard-Westlake Upper School.

The festivities commenced with enthusiastic Harvard-Westlake students greeting The Help Group students with applause, homemade signs, and high-fives. The spirited welcome – called a “tunnel of love” – has become a tradition for these joint school Special Olympics events and a wonderful way to kick off the festivities.

Set to music playing in the stands, Harvard Westlake’s Community Council welcomed the students, volunteers, faculty, staff, coaches and Help Group families. Before the games commenced, Help Group student athletes shared the Special Olympics oath, “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Throughout the morning, student athletes participated in track and field relay races and sprints, and basketball and soccer drills, playing full games after scrimmaging. Some Help Group students were also paired with the Harvard-Westlake cheer team to practice school spirit. For many of the Harvard-Westlake students who volunteer in support the activities, Special Olympics Game Day has become part of a cherished annual tradition.

Harvard-Westlake high school student Malia Yap who spearheaded Game Day shared how its goal was to foster an inclusive athletic environment. Malia, who has been supporting the Special Olympics in past years on her campus said, “I think it’s really important to give kids the opportunity to participate especially because athletics have been such an important part of my life.”

After the games concluded, Help Group and Harvard-Westlake students came together for a closing ceremony. Pamela Clark, Help Group Director of Autism Schools commented, “Our Bridgeport students came out for this event with enthusiastic spirits and so much excitement to showcase all the skills they have been learning, and once again they have truly shined.”

Our heartfelt thanks to Harvard Westlake’s administration, faculty, coaches and students for hosting such a wonderful event; Harvard-Westlake’s Dean of students, Jordan Church and Counselor and Teacher, Michelle Bracken; Community Council members Malia Yap and Jade Harris and Help Group Staff, Faculty and Coaches. We are most grateful to everyone involved for creating this opportunity that champions young people of all abilities.