Carnival Hosts Sea Serpents’ Athletes

Madeleine Singh, Sports Editor

200 people attended the Sea Serpents Carnival on Campolindo’s lower athletic field on Sunday, October 29. The event was hosted by the Project Open Hands Club in coordination with the Sea Serpents, a non-profit, volunteer-run swim team that provides opportunities for Bay Area special needs students.

The event featured various booths and games paid for by the club members themselves.  “[The funding is] all from our own pocket, or from the shirts –we have club shirts– so any profit we get from selling those,” explained junior Ava Charlesworth.

Activities included cookie decorating, donut eating, soccer, football, and more. Catering was provided by Top Dog, paid for by club adviser, special education teacher Michelle Alessandria.

“We got a lot of support from the varsity water polo team, and they all volunteered, and we had a group of students who organized the whole carnival,” said Alessandria.

This was the club’s 3rd year of hosting the carnival, which has seen attendance numbers increase each year. “There were a lot more athletes, more special Olympics athletes [than in past years],” said Alessandria.

Club president senior Hannah Ruane said, “We have a good formula because we’ve been doing it the same way for several years now, so I think besides adding new, fun events each year, I think we’ll keep the set up pretty much the same.”

“It’s a great event and that’s why it’s an annual event, because it’s so successful,” said Alessandria. “The special Olympics athletes will talk about it for weeks before–as soon as they found out, it’s ‘We get to go to the carnival!'”

“At a school like Campo that doesn’t really have a special ed program, it’s really important that we get the message out to be tolerant, accepting, and aware of people with special needs, and to be their friends,” said Charlesworth, who will be taking on one of the club’s leadership positions next year.

“It’s a very rewarding activity and it’s very worthwhile because it helps the kids in the community, and it provides a chance for Campo students to get involved with a great organization that helps kids that have disabilities,” added Ruane.

Project Open Hands will be planning 2 more events for Sea Serpents’ athletes: a basketball-themed event in the winter, and a baseball-centered event in the spring. Those interested in volunteering can contact Alessandria or refer to the club’s Instagram, @projectopenhands, for information about upcoming meetings.