INCLUSION: In Class and On the Court

Eureka High’s Adapted P.E. Class Competes in Special Olympics Basketball Tournament
Posted on 04/05/2023

April 5, 2023 - Eureka, CA - Inclusion is the practice of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded, and inclusion is what Eureka High School’s Adapted Physical Education and Special Olympics program is all about. 

Melaina Valdez is a general and adapted P.E. teacher at Eureka High and also the coach of the EHS Special Olympics basketball team. She says, “Adapted P.E. is strictly for kids with disabilities that wouldn't otherwise be able to join a general physical education class. They still need that physical activity and knowledge about physical education, so we provide them a separate setting where they have like peers and they go through the same units that regular general education would go through but with more support.”

Students in Adapted P.E. at Eureka High along with a few students from special day classes or life skills classes also have the opportunity to participate on a competition basketball team for the local Special Olympics. Over the past few weeks, the Loggers have played in games against neighboring high school teams the Arcata Tigers, Fortuna Huskies, and McKinleyville Panthers, and most recently they all went head-to-head for a final tournament held at the Jay Willard Gymnasium on March 31st. 

“They are determined to keep up with their schoolwork, to be nice to others, to put in their full effort every day and I see it in my gym class and I for sure saw it on the court in the tournament. They did so well and I think they're just very dedicated, determined kids,” said Valdez. 

The Loggers won the first game in the tournament against the Arcata Tigers; and while everyone played their best, tournament highlights came from EHS Adapted P.E. athletes Jaycile Satterwhite, Owen Laramore, and David Welch. 

Welch says, “We like doing everything together and having fun, so we feel really excited to get to go to the finals.” 

EHS teachers, staff, students, and cheerleaders were there to show support for the team while embracing the importance of school spirit and logger pride for all student activities. Plus, there was a big community turnout.

“I love this because our kids get the opportunity to showcase their skills which they have plenty of, the school came out to support them, and it's just a great opportunity for them to feel accepted, loved, appreciated and to showcase how awesome they are,” said Eureka Mayor, Kim Bergel. 

The Loggers took home second place in the final game against McKinleyville 21 to 23. But when it was all said and done, everyone had a smile on their face, and it was inclusion and good sportsmanship that reigned supreme. 

Valdez expressed her gratitude for everyone that attended and to the athletes that participated on all teams. She added, “It truly has made the highlight of my year, it's been phenomenal, and I can't wait for next year to put on this awesome event again.”

Eureka City Schools is proud to support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and Belonging (DEIB). We are continually working to enhance and improve DEIB programs, resources, and opportunities. In an effort to understand where the District currently stands regarding DEIB and gain insight for paths of improvement, ECS recently embarked on a self-prescribed external audit of our work in DEIB. The goals of this study were to assess student access to high-quality programs, high-quality teaching, discipline procedures, equitable resources, and root cause analysis of persistent achievement gaps for students of color and other historically marginalized groups.

In early 2022 the ECS Board of Education approved and awarded the DEI audit to Prismatic Services. In February 2023 ECS received the DEI audit and in March it was presented to the Board. Next steps are to establish a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Advisory Committee.

You can find the DEI report (which includes the audit and a presentation) in the ECS March 9, 2023 Board Packet HERE: Report on the Eureka City Schools Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Audit

To see tournament highlights and interviews, make sure to check out the FULL VIDEO STORY HERE: (VIDEO) Inclusion In Class & On the Court: Eureka High’s Adapted PE class competes in Special Olympics Basketball Tournament 

PREVIOUSLY AT EUREKA HIGH: (VIDEO) Excitement & Progress - Eureka High New Gymnasium 2023

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Press Contact:
Sierra Speer Dillon
Communications and Marketing Coordinator
Eureka City Schools
[email protected]
Tel: 707-441-3373