On Friday, April 26, nearly eighty students from The Help Group’s Bridgeport School participated in the 3rd Annual Special Olympics Unified Game Day event hosted by Harvard-Westlake School.
The festivities commenced with enthusiastic Harvard-Westlake students greeting The Help Group students with applause, homemade signs, and high-fives. The spirited gathering – called a “tunnel of love” – has become a tradition for these joint school Special Olympics events. What a wonderful way to start the day!
Lisa Rozati, Director of Special Projects at The Help Group, and Pam Clark, Director of Autism Schools at The Help Group, welcomed the students, volunteers, faculty, staff and coaches, and thanked Harvard-Westlake administrators, Jordan Church, Dean of students, and Michelle Bracken, humanities teacher for their support of this event, as well as Rachel Grode, the high school senior who spearheaded this event. Rachel has been actively involved for the past three years in supporting the Special Olympics on her campus and collaborating with The Help Group to host this annual event. She is a remarkable student leader and champion for young people of all abilities.
Before the games commenced, a Help Group student athlete shared the Special Olympics oath, “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
Student athletes participated in several sports and activities throughout the morning. For track and field, students ran relay races, sprints and practiced long jumping. Additionally, students participated in basketball and soccer drills and played full games after scrimmaging, while some Help Group students were paired with the Harvard-Westlake cheer team to practice school spirit. Outdoor bowling was also featured in the line-up of games.
After the games and events concluded, Help Group and Harvard-Westlake students all sat in a circle on the field for a closing ceremony. Pam Clark shared a few remarks, saying, “Bridgeport students, I truly commend you for showcasing all the athletic skills you’ve learned throughout the year, and to Harvard-Westlake
student volunteers, I’d like to once again express our gratitude for graciously hosting The Help Group and warmly welcoming our students to your school.”
Our heartfelt thanks to Harvard Westlake’s administration, faculty, coaches and students for hosting such a wonderful event; Harvard-Westlake’s Dean Jordan Church and Michelle Bracken; Harvard-Westlake student leader Rachel Grode, and to Help Group Staff, Faculty and Coaches. We are most grateful to everyone involved for creating events and opportunities where our students can truly shine!