Sports Day for students with severe disabilities at Fresno school

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It was a very special day at Addicott Elementary School in East Central Fresno. The annual sports day gave students with severe disabilities the chance to play games and sports and win prizes.

The free event is now in its 41st year. Many community organizations help make the event a success by donating their time to bring students joy.

The opening ceremonies were complete with the superintendent of Fresno Unified singing the national anthem. The event is a way to make every kid and their families feel like winners.

Each participant gets a free t-shirt, ribbons and plenty of cheers.

Sonya Herrera, the mother of a student, says, "She loves it because she gets more attention from everybody. People clap, they smile, she can play with the kids from other schools."

Stephanie Herrera has a genetic disorder called Rett's Syndrome. Her mother said the school has been such a gift. The event is a reminder of the dedication of the school staff and the community. Office Max and Office Depot not only donated volunteers, but also signs and banners for the event.

For decades, Karen Chapman has been a part of making the event a hit with the kids. Now retired, she returns because the school is so special to her.

"It puts a smile on everybody's face, particularly the parents because a lot of times parents can't see their kids doing a lot of activities. Maybe they don't get a chance to be involved in group activities," Chapman says.

But on Friday the students were able to participate in individual and group events. Interim principal Robyn Scroggins said unlike other events that require students to get a physical, this one had no restrictions.

"We have a lot of students who are in wheelchairs or use walkers so we have activities for everybody. We also have a couple of other schools who will be attending so everybody is a participant," Scroggins said.

For those who weren't into competing, there was plenty of other stuff to do and like every carnival, fresh cotton candy and a cake walk were part of the fun.
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