11th annual Special Olympics at Santa Maria High School (KSBY photo)
Student athletes competed in the Santa Maria Special Olympics on Thursday.
At Santa Maria High School, 275 athletes competed in long jump, softball throw, and track and field events. Teachers helped train the athletes about two months before the games. More than 150 volunteers also helped to make the 11th annual games possible.
"We want them to feel like they’re welcome into the schools," said operations coordinator Nicolas Chavez. "We want to make sure that they train properly and that they are accepted here in the community, and we’re just happy to have them."
The Special Olympics started with an opening ceremony that included a parade and torch lighting. The day ended in an awards ceremony.
Special Olympics Northern Santa Barbara County partnered with the Santa Maria Joint-Union High School District and the Lompoc Unified School District.