Two dozen students from the Valley Stream Central High School District took part in the Victory Challenge on May 31 at Mitchel Athletic Complex.
The Challenge, also known as the Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged, featured students from schools across the region. South High School's athletes collected more than 50 medals and ribbons.
The students, in grades 7-12, participated in a variety of track and field events. They were led by special education teachers Kelli Meier and Jessica Ricotta.
Meier said this was the first time South students have gone to the games. The idea to participate came from Principal Maureen Henry. “They don’t really get the opportunity to do anything of a physical nature,” Meier said. “I’m proud of all the athletes. They did their best.”
Students trained for about a month in their phys. ed. classes. Fifteen teachers and the school nurse accompanied them, along with three student volunteers, Alexa LaRocca, Nancy Vasquez and Janice Lewis. Meier said they provided encouragement, and even ran alongside some of the athletes during races.
“It was a wonderful experience for all involved,” Meier said. “We plan on being there every year.”
The Victory Challenge is open to all students with disabilities ages 5-21. South’s athletes received their medals and ribbons in a presentation at the school on June 4.
Taariq Abdullah, Nirvana Baksh, Eren Basank, Amari Brewer, Brian Chalas, Catherine Donovan, Mandi Espino, Jesus Espinoza, Jose Hernandez, Joardany Jean-Pierre, Tyrell Jiles, Aidan Lee, Chris McArdle, Michael McKee, Coraima Mera, Zahrah Mian, Haaris Mohammed, Nicole Oviedo, Kris Perez, Andrew Pisaniello, Jose Rivera-Mars, Chad San Juan, Cy Valentin, Milagros Vera