by Courtney Pon
For the first time ever, a Galileo Unified soccer team, consisting of general education students and students with special needs participated in a soccer match at Lowell High School on Monday, October 26. The purpose of the event was to have students who don’t normally interact get to know each other better through sports.
According to Galileo’s transition coordinator for the SFUSD CAT program, Mr. Roth, “We were able to get eight general ed students to sign up. The most we’ve ever had. The Galileo Team did very well.”
Senior volunteer, Teddy Wong added, “ Meeting new friends and competing with each other was one of the best feelings. All of the laughter and encouragement really made up a good atmosphere. No matter what background or abilities you have, we were still able to form a unified team, a family.”
Unified teams are relatively new to the San Francisco Unified School District. In fact, Galileo is only the second school in the district to have one. However, the district is making a bigger push to include all students in more events.
“It’s important to get the two get the two groups to interact with each other because it spreads the understanding of disabilities,” Mr. Roth said.
The event was first presented four weeks ago when Cyrus Nassersaeid, the director of the Special Olympics for Northern California and Nevada came to Galileo to talk to students about this event. He asked for volunteers to participate in the Galileo Unified Soccer team, to represent Galileo at the Lowell tournament.
In the future, Mr. Roth hopes to raise the number of general education participants. He hopes to build up the program so students of all grades will participate in these events. There is a planned basketball tournament with the unified team later this school year as well.