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20th Anniversary of Special Olympics Track and Field Day: A Glorious Success

The 20th Anniversary of the Special Olympics Track and Field Day was celebrated today at St. James Catholic High School in Guelph. The event saw over 700 athletes of all ages from 60 schools competing in various track, field, and adaptive events. The beautiful weather added to the joy and excitement of the day.

Guelph Police were present to support the event, ensuring safety and contributing to the festive atmosphere. The day was marked by outstanding sportsmanship, camaraderie, and the celebration of two decades of inspiration and achievement.


“Although the top athletes will be recognized for their efforts in the different events, everyone comes away feeling like a winner! I know our WCDSB representatives have been practicing lots and are looking forward to showing off their ability at St. James CHS,” said Hearn. “Student-athletes take pride in demonstrating skills and representing their schools, the goal of the day is to provide everyone with an opportunity to do just that.”

“20 years of gathering together! Our teachers, educational assistants and students work so hard to prepare for this day and we are so thankful for the hours of prep and organization from our Special Olympics volunteers and community who come together to support, plan and organize!” shared Erin Leslie, UGDSB Special Olympics track and field committee member.

The partnership between Wellington Catholic District School Board, Upper Grand District School Board, Ontario Special Olympics, Community Living Guelph/Wellington, Guelph Police, and the City of Guelph was evident in the seamless execution of the event.


“We are thrilled to be celebrating our 20th year of hosting this Special Olympics Track and Field Day. This is a favourite day for students, staff and the community,” shared Michelle Kearley, UGDSB Special Olympics committee member. “I would like to recognize three very dedicated people who have been part of the Opening ceremonies for many years. Thank you to Kara Shaw, our pianist, Peter Hummel, our Piper and Godfrey McNamee and the Pigeon Club. Also, we are honoured that two members of the original committee, who started this event, will be joining us May 15th. Sonja Holmes and Steve Redmond will be acting as Honorary Marshalls!”

Participants competed in 50m, 100m, and 200m races, long jump, softball throw, and various adaptive events, fostering new and renewed friendships across Wellington and Dufferin Counties. Hearn highlighted, “While top athletes were recognized, everyone felt like a winner. It was a day to demonstrate skills and represent schools proudly.”

Photo by Erika Schadenberg
Photo by Erika Schadenberg

Erin Leslie, UGDSB Special Olympics committee member, expressed gratitude for the dedication of teachers, educational assistants, volunteers, and the community in making the event possible. The day was a true testament to the spirit of the Special Olympics, culminating in an uplifting opening ceremony.

Congratulations to all participants for their bravery and effort. The event’s success is a testament to the power of community and the enduring legacy of the Special Olympics.

Quick Facts

2023-2024 Track and Field Special Olympics took place on May 15, 2024 at St. James Catholic High School located at 57 Victoria Road North in Guelph.

The opening ceremony began at 10 a.m. with speakers addressing athletes, a special recognition through the reciting of the Special Olympics’ athletic oath and torch run.

Participating Schools:

  • Aberfoyle P.S.
  • Ariss Place
  • Arthur P.S.
  • Arbour Vista P.S.
  • Cedar Heights Centennial C.V.I.
  • Centre Peel P.S.
  • Centre Dufferin D.H.S.
  • Centre Wellington D.H.S.
  • College Heights S.S.
  • Credit Meadows E.S.
  • Elora P.S.
  • Erin P.S.
  • Guelph C.V.I.
  • Island Lake P.S.
  • John F. Ross C.V.I.
  • John Galt P.S.
  • June Avenue. P.S.
  • Ken Danby P.S.
    Kortright Hills P.S.
  • Minto-Clifford P.S.
  • Mitchell Woods P.S.
  • Montgomery Village P.S.
  • Norwell District S.S.
  • Orangeville District S.S.
  • Ponsonby P.S.
  • Priory Park P.S.
  • Rickson Ridge P.S.
  • Rockwood Centennial P.S.
  • Ross R Mackay P.S.
  • Sir Isaac Brock P.S.
  • Taylor Evans P.S.
  • Victoria Cross P.S.
  • Victoria Terrace P.S.
  • Waverley Drive P.S.
  • Westwood P.S.
  • Willow Road P.S.
  • Bishop MacDonnell CHS
  • Holy Rosary CS
  • Holy Trinity CS
  • Mary Phelan CS
  • Our Lady of Lourdes CHS
  • Sacred Heart CS
  • Francis of Assisi CS
  • James CHS
  • John (Arthur) CS
  • John Bosco CHS
  • John Brebeuf CS
  • John (Guelph) CS
  • Joseph (Fergus) CS
  • Joseph (Guelph) CS
  • Mary (Mount Forest) CS
  • Mary (Elora) CS
  • Michael CS
  • Patrick CS
  • Paul CS
  • Peter CS
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