Friday spells the end of the school week for students everywhere, but those in the special needs class at Poway High School will be saying TGIF for another reason.
On Dec. 14, the class of 10 will be hosting the Special Olympics at PHS—a first for the Poway Unified School District, and the result of hours of organization by special education teacher Erin Nixon.
Nixon says the excitement among her students has been palpable.
“They screamed when the t-shirts arrived,” she said. “Just every little thing you can think of—they’re just so excited.”
PHS will be joined by five other high schools including Rancho Bernardo, Del Norte, Mt. Carmel and Westview.
While Mira Mesa High School is not part of the district, they also will be taking part in the event as a guest. Nixon says she became inspired to host the Special Olympics after an invite her class received from them last year.
“We’re very proud to be hosting this event," Nixon said. “My students have been practicing. Their spirits are really high, and we’ve done a lot of team building and character building.”
Nixon says her class has always gotten support from the general education students and staff at PHS, but that she’s thrilled her and other critical needs students will get an opportunity to shine on their own.
“I’m excited that my kids get to be involved in something that general ed kids get to do every day,” Nixon said. “They get to be in the spotlight; the general ed kids are going to come and watch them. I just want this to be a thing where special ed kids can be included.”
Approximately 70 students will take part in the event, playing soccer and individual activities like wheelchair racing and target throwing. For safety reasons, and because the Special Olympics is held during school hours, the event will be closed to the general public.