April 4, 2017 – The campus at Rafer Johnson School was turned into a small-scale track meet on Friday, equipped with frisbees, styrofoam javelins, hula hoops, bean bags and other equipment for the 44th Annual Rafer Johnson Day. The event brings together hundreds of special needs students from the Bakersfield City School District for an opportunity to participate in various outdoor activities and receive ribbons for their efforts.
Amongst the day’s activities were Frisbee toss, javelin throw, long jump and an opportunity to walk around the track and cross the finish line. The children also had the opportunity to have their faces painted, play with bubbles and play a jumbo version of checkers or connect four.
The special guest of the day was Olympian Rafer Johnson himself, who has supported and attended the event since its inception forty-four years ago. When asked about the event, Johnson said, “I continue coming back because I see growth at this place and in this Community that affects all of these young people’s lives in a very positive way.” Johnson is a winner of multiple Olympic medals in the Decathlon, including Gold in 1960. He also played an important role in launching the Special Olympics in the 1960’s, and continues to serve on the board of directors.
During the event, Emily Hanson was honored as BCSD’s Special Education Teacher of the Year. In addition, a special recognition was held in memory of Gary Hayden, who ran the Special Olympics at Rafer Johnson School for the last four years. He passed away earlier this school year. His wife was present at the event for the recognition.
For more pictures of the event, CLICK HERE.