On Monday, March 4, more than 500 Santa Margarita Catholic High School students welcomed over 400 athletes with special needs to campus for the 10th Annual Special Olympics. The athletes were between the ages of 8 and 22 visiting from 15 elementary, middle, high school and adult transition schools from North Orange County, Huntington Beach,Tustin, Newport-Mesa and Capistrano Valley areas. The entire freshman class participated in this fun day of service, assisted by upperclassmen and faculty and staff. The Santa Margarita students served as personal buddies cheering the athletes on as they competed in the 25-meter dash, the 50-meter dash, and softball toss. In addition to the competitions, the athletes also enjoyed face painting, a snack shack, photo booth and basketball toss throughout the morning.
Caitlin Rangel, who oversees the school's Christian service program, fondly reflected upon the day:
"Special Olympics is an opportunity for Santa Margarita to exercise real Christian hospitality," she said. "To open our campus and our hearts to those that are not usually part of our community. It is an opportunity to practice openness, acceptance, and love; it is an opportunity to step out of our comfort zones and out of our own interests into the stance of giving our total attention and care to another. Special Olympics is a wonderfully fun event, but ultimately, it is not about how great our campus is for hosting the event. It is about the willingness to learn from others and to give of ourselves. When we do this, we learn the true joy that comes from service.