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Life Skills students get a kick out of competing

San Benito High School held its inaugural Gifted Soccer game on Feb. 8, offering Life Skills students a chance to compete in a friendly yet competitive match
Gifted Soccer organizer Mariana Magana high-fives a player.
Goals were set up on the lawn of the main campus for the contest.
Members of the Baler girls' soccer team helped out during the match.
Each squad had two team captains for the inaugural game.

The inaugural Gifted Soccer game was played during lunch at San Benito High School on Feb. 8, matching two teams of Life Skills students against each other in a friendly, yet competitive game that received an assist from the girls' varsity soccer team.

SBHS senior soccer player and peer teacher Mariana Magana spearheaded the game, which she said came about after she played soccer at lunch with some Life Skills students a few months back, spurring the idea to involved more of them in an actual game.

"It's so much more than starting something new," she said. "It's about the awareness and inclusion they all deserve."

Matched up as the Red Team vs. the White Team, the players competed on a grassy area on the north side of campus, attracting a large crowd of supportive students who were on their lunch break. A DJ was on hand to play music and a number of Baler soccer players were on the field to direct the players during the fast-paced game.

The Red Team edged the White Team 3-2, with both squads excitedly celebrating each goal as the crowd cheered them on.

"Our students, although they are developmentally delayed, have typical and wants and needs like any teenager," said Paulette Cobb, SBHS's director of Special Education. "They couldn't play on the soccer team because they are medically fragile or lack the ability, so this allows them to interact with their general education peers" and have fun competing.

The Gifted Soccer games are scheduled to continue on various dates at lunch throughout the Spring semester, adding to the numerous inclusive programs at San Benito High School including a Gifted Cheer team, the Baler Buckaroo Rodeo for Life Skills students, the annual Gifted Games Olympic-style competition that alternates between SBHS and Gilroy High, the Life Skills Prom and Circle of Friends, in which 250 students participate.

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San Benito High School District (education) (SBHSD)

Founded in 1875, San Benito High School is the largest, comprehensive high school in the county, serving nearly 3,000 students. Our mission is to educate all students to their highest potential so they will have the greatest range of personal options upon graduation.

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