Gifted Games offer chances to excel

Representing San Benito High School, Maritza Bracamontes Soto, with aide Dawson Biersdorff, throws the turbo javelin at the Gifted Games, Friday, May 18 in Gilroy. Credit: Robert Eliason
San Benito High School student Anakin Srisavaththay crossed the finish line with helper Noel Chavarria. Srisavaththay was among 47 students from the school’s Life Skills program to participate in the 2018 Gifted Games. Credit: Robert Eliason

More than 400 students from 24 schools in San Benito and Santa Clara counties gave it their all at the 13th annual Gifted Games, which was created to allow individuals with special needs a chance to experience the thrill of athletic competition.

The event, which was held May 18 at Gilroy High School, began as a way to allow 30 Life Skills students from San Benito High School to compete in Olympic-style events has become a community-wide celebration of hundreds of special needs student-athletes from around the area.

Special Education teacher Tania Sauer said there were 436 athletes registered from San Benito and Santa Clara counties, ranging in age from kindergarten through high school. Total athletes and school staff were 671.

The Gifted Games alternates venues between San Benito and Gilroy high schools. It was held in Gilroy in 2017 because of storm damage to Andy Hardin Field and was held there this year and will be held there again next year as a new stadium is constructed in Hollister.

“I’ve visited all the classes attending in Hollister and students are really looking forward to the event,” Sauer said prior to the Games. “I had the the chance to train some of the classes in the events that we will be doing. Students in the Life Skills program have been training in the events as well…I’m really looking forward to hosting the event here in 2020 so that we can include more of our Baler community.”

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