Menlo hosted the 28th annual Special Olympics this past Saturday, April 21 at Cartan Field in conjunction with the Special Olympics of Northern California. Hundreds of special-needs athletes and Menlo student volunteers took part in the event. Staff photos: Addie Ahlstrom and Elisabeth Westermann.
By Addie Ahlstrom and Elisabeth Westermann
Sophomores Alex Morgan and Julien Hernandez pose for a photo holding their motivational signs to support the athletes competing. Many Menlo students volunteered for the event as either personal helpers to individual athletes, leaders of various field events, or running the games and concessions.
A Special Olympic athlete participates in the virtual reality experience hosted by Oculus, which is owned by Facebook. The virtual reality booth stationed at Cartan Field during the Olympics was one of the most popular activities available to participating athletes.
Freshmen Alix Borton, Annabelle Marenghi, and Dylan Bowers observe a Special Olympic athlete attempt the javelin throw. This year’s Special Olympics included additional events such as track and field and long jump.
Junior Bella Scola talks with her athlete buddy while eating lunch after participating in the field events. Menlo parents and students ran a barbeque and buffet line for the participating athletes and volunteers.
Freshmen Lauren Lawson and Lindsey Ball accompany their athlete buddy to one of the activity booths. Student volunteers enjoyed the event: “I found the Special Olympics really meaningful because all of the athletes are there not to win, but to compete and have fun while doing it. My athlete was not the fastest, but after his race he was so proud of himself for competing and finishing, which I found super special,” sophomore Kyra Geschke said.
An athlete sits for a portrait at the caricature booth hosted by artist Gordon Ng. The other booths included face paint, a fishing game, karaoke, and a photo booth.
Sophomores Henry Knoll and Kevin King support their buddy as she takes part in the softball adaptation of the javelin throw; a variation of the traditional game designed to make it easier for athletes with more severe disabilities to participate.