Student athletes shine at 31st annual Optimist Games in Redlands

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iecn photo/ yazmin alvarez Student athletes with special needs took first place at the annual Optimist Games at RHS’s Dodge Stadium April 7.

It was Joseph Supangkat’s first time taking first place and the student athlete was grinning from ear-to-ear from his win.

“I’m a champ,” said Supangkat, clapping and cheering.

Supangkat was among the hundreds of student athletes with special needs that filled Redlands High School’s Dodge Stadium by participating in the 31st annual Optimist Games.

Spearheaded by the Optimist Club of Redlands, the games give students with special needs a time to shine on the playing fields.

“This is everything we are about,” said Richard Pennington, president of the Optimist Club, of the games.

As part of the games, sporting events and stations lined one end of the football field to the other, while athletes and student volunteers from from Redlands High football team and other school service clubs partnered up to take on the Olympic-style events.

The games included opening ceremonies highlighting each school participating while athletes paraded down the track, performances by Beattie Middle School students and surprise “thank you” to retiring RHS football Coach Jim Walker for his 20 years of support in the games.

iecn photos/ yazmin alvarez
Student athletes with special needs took first place at the annual Optimist Games at RHS’s Dodge Stadium April 7.

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