Special Olympics Youth Games open in Canada; 15 CPS students competing

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Special Olympics Youth Games opened in Ontario, Canada, on Tuesday.

Special Olympics athletes from Southside Occupational Academy are competing in floor hockey for the Youth Games in Toronto.

Marc Rice, the 15 student-athletes' teacher, said the group was extremely excited about this big trip.

"I mean we brought the kids down state many times but this is the first time for a very far trip out of the country so it will be a great opportunity for the kids," he said.

It's the last chance for many on the team to take part in the games.

"Our students age out the day before they turn 22," Melissa Garritano, athletics director for the Special Olympics, explained. "When this came about it was the perfect timing, so but what better way to send them out from CPS and being with us at Southside than taking them out of the country?"

For longtime Special Olympics athlete David Harlan, it's all about doing his best.

"One hundred percent, 100 percent. I pray on it. 100 percent for me and my team to win and to come home with the trophy," he said.

The Southside students are the only ones from the entire state that will be competing in the games, which run through Friday.
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