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Gridley Herald

A Special Day on the Field

May 31, 2024 12:50PM ● By Seti Long, photos by Seti Long

Melody Thompson shows off her medal, pictured here with her father, Dominique Thomson. 


GRIDLEY, CA (MPG) - Gridley Unified School Districts students with special needs took to the high school football field Friday, May 24 for the annual special track and field day.

Students from McKinley, Wilson, Sycamore and Gridley High School gathered for the annual games early in the morning. Carrying banners they created to represent their school, the various age groups lined the track for their opening ceremonies and their spot in the limelight.


This little girl is all ready for a day of track and field fun! 


The procession kicked off with those in the front carrying a banner in honor of Ms. Guadlandi, a special education teacher who recently lost her life to cancer. Before the day would open to the public, a moment of silence would be held for the beloved teacher.

The national anthem would be sung beautifully by Maddie Miler.

Students charged headfirst into the day, with racing beginning immediately. Runners participated in the 25m, 100m and more with all earning medals for their efforts. Other activities included soccer, cornhole, sensory activities, and even playing with a colorful parachute.

Cheyanne Wyatt took advantage of the facepainting booth, getting a purple spiderman design painted on her face.


Cheyanne Wyatt enjoys free face painting! 


Her mother Crystal Cabrerra says that events like track and field day are important to special needs students because it provides them with the opportunity to participate in sporting events that they aren’t normally able to, at a level they can handle. “It’s about camaraderie,” she says and less about winning or losing, “just getting out and having fun.”

The Herald caught up with runner Melody Thompson to get her opinion on the day.

“It’s pretty amazing!” she said, sharing her excitement at the wide variety of events available to take part in.

The special track and field day returns each year, supported by volunteers from the leadership class at Esperanza School and Gridley High Schools, not to mention the families that come out in support of their students.

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