About 550 students participated from LEUSD schools and a local charter school in the games held at Lake Elsinore's Lakeside High School Friday.
Relatives, friends and supporters cheered the athletes during multiple events staged in and around the school's stadium.
Races included the 25-meter assisted walk; 50-meter wheelchair; the 50-meter walk; the 100, 200 and 400-meter run and the 4x100-meter relay
Other events included a bean bag throw; tennis ball throw; softball throw; running long jump, and standing long jump.
These were the third annual games co-sponsored to promote unity and a spirit of friendly competition. Before the opening ceremony, the athletes paraded around the track, greeted by cheers from more than 1,000 spectators and hundreds of volunteers.
Peter Hopping, Lakeside High School principal, acted as Master of Ceremonies. The Elsinore High School Junior ROTC Color Guard presented the colors and those in attendance were treated to a powerful rendition of the National Anthem, sung by Jessica Zermeno, a junior at Wildomar's Elsinore High School.
Following a welcome by assistant Superintendent George Landon, 15-year-old student Kodi Lee played the piano -- with Jesse Rodriguez on guitar -- and sang John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
Representing the Special Olympics of Southern California, Kelly Kloepping, assistant vice-president of the organization, reminded those in attendance that the efforts and determination of the athletes is a boon to everyone.
Often, she said, one gains the most from witnessing the spirit and resolve to finish the race or complete the event.
Jordan Sperry, Elsinore student athlete and a participant at the games presented the Athletes' Oath: “Let me win; but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
One parent in attendance, Tyricha Gilbert of Lake Elsinore watched her 11-year-old son, a first-time participant and a student at Lakeland Village. “These games give the kids a chance to compete, feel equal with athleticism, exercise, have fun, and see friends,” she told Patch.