Just over 150 San Benito CISD Special Education students participated in the Winter 2017 Special Olympics Motor Activity Training Program (MATP) recently held at the San Benito Veterans Memorial Academy gymnasium.

The program is designed for persons with severe limitations who do not yet possess the developmental skills necessary to participate in official Special Olympics sports. Students from throughout the district, including some that are homebound, participated in this year’s event designed to develop young participants’ motor skills through fun-filled tasks and recreation activities geared to participants’ ability levels.

“I enjoyed being able to witness today’s MATP event at VMA. Through sports, our students see themselves for their abilities and become confident and empowered by their accomplishments,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nate Carman.

“Thank you to all the SBCISD employees who made this event possible and a special thank you to the parents, families, and friends who showed up today to cheer on our students,” he added.

MATP activities help to develop a young participant’s motor skills through fun-filled tasks such as pushing or kicking a ball, jumping in a colorful ball pit, or stepping across a low bar. Additional MATP recreational activities include the beanbag lift, ball kick, ball lift, and ball push.

Special Olympics/Adaptive Physical Education Coordinator Rick Tamez explains, “The students displayed awesome skills in their competition with joy and were rewarded with medals at the end of the event. Watching these students compete and observe their positive emotions was just amazing!”

Following the Special Olympics motto “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,” MATP emphasizes training and participation rather than competition. The program provides the means for students with severe limitations to participate in appropriate recreation activities geared to their ability levels.

“The MATP is a great event that has taken place in our district for the past 11 years. It’s a great feeling to see how much our students enjoy this event. You get to see a smile on their face as they participate in the different activities,” said Ernesto Manriquez, SBCISD Special Services Director.

Committed to the students and their overall development, department administrators and event coordinators take great pride in knowing that the San Benito MATP is often praised as being one of the best events in the state as it continues to grow with each passing year.

For additional information on the school district’s MATP initiative, contact the Special Services Department at (956) 361-6221.