After a two-year pause because of the pandemic, the Cougar Relays returned to Rancho Cucamonga High School in March, offering an opportunity for 180 students with special needs from across the Chaffey Joint Union High School District to participate in a variety of outdoor games and events.
The Relays, recent winners of a Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association, are designed to promote a deeper understanding of the talents and gifts every student offers, while building mutual appreciation, respect and rapport, according to a news release.
During the March 10 Relays, thousands of Rancho Cucamonga High School students cheered on from the stands as participants rotated through events ranging from racing and jumping to modified games = involving balls and sandbags.
“I love this event. By working together to joyfully celebrate our diversity, we all grow and benefit, ”Joshua Kirk, principal of Rancho Cucamonga High School, said in the news release. “The entire school community gets behind it, and the energy is incredible, especially leading into this year.”
Planning for this year’s relays began in the fall, with members of the National Honor Society, Best of Buddies and their respective advisers Kristin Herchenroeder and Daniel Fernandez taking the lead.
“This is a labor of love, our gift to our students,” Herchenroeder said in the news release.
Mathew Holton, Chaffey Joint Union High School district superintendent and a former principal at Rancho Cucamonga High School, said the Cougar Relays are a great example of what can happen when students are empowered to make a difference.
“Everyone involved is part of a cause that is larger than themselves,” Holton said in the news release. “We’re so proud of how this event has evolved since its launch in 2007, into one of our most inspirational and dynamic activities.”