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The Special Olympics World Games started on a high note for John Glenn High incoming junior Destiny Sanchez, who was given the honor of lighting the Olympic torch during opening ceremonies July 25. Over the following three days, Sanchez carried on the positive and competitive spirit, winning the Gold medal for the 200 meter, the Silver in the 100 meter and the Bronze on the 400 meter relay race.Every two years, Special Olympics athletes come together to compete at the Special Olympics World Games – this time in Los Angeles. More than 7,000 athletes from 177 countries descended upon the region, to compete in 25 different sports at venues throughout Los Angeles during the last week in July.Norwalk-La Mirada School Board President Jesse Urquidi said Sanchez is an inspiration to the entire community.“The Special Olympics is a transformative experience that brings out pride, courage and joy in athletes, while inviting families and entire communities to join in celebrating their success. Norwalk-La Mirada Unified applauds her for her tremendous accomplishments.”Sanchez attends Linda Parra’s special education class where she is learning life skills needed for independence and will earn a certificate of completion. Parra, a special education teacher and the athletic director at Glenn High in Norwalk, encourages students to try out for the Special Olympics because it allows them to explore the broader world, meet new people and build their confidence.Sanchez’s mother, Lourdes, said Special Olympics has made the seemingly impossible feel attainable. “Destiny loves her coaches and likes the fact that competing makes her special,” Lourdes said.
“Special Olympics has given her a lot of confidence and she feels like there’s nothing she can’t do. She thoroughly enjoys participating.”Sanchez won a gold medal in the 50-meter dash and a bronze in the 100-meter dash during a local Special Olympics competition last year on behalf of Team Norwalk, and was chosen by the Special
Olympics World Games Committee to join Team USA for the World Games this summer.“Destiny set her mind to winning the Gold medal and this accomplishment speaks to her work ethic, determination and tenacity,” said Superintendent Dr. Hasmik Danielian. “She truly is a role model for all of our students, and even adults throughout our community to reach for their dreams.”Parra, too, is thrilled about Sanchez’s gold-medal winning performance and to have seen her featured in the World Games opening ceremony. “She just sprinted up the stairs with confidence and ease to light the torch with millions of people watching. I am so proud of her,” she said.
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