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RIISE Students at The Special Olympics

Nutley RIISE Students Participated in a Very Special Day

On May 4, 2022, the Nutley High School Special Education students competed in the Special Olympics, in Brookdale Park. This was such a special day for the students because they “were a part of a team,” Santino, one of the students, mentioned. These students are full of courage and strength, and they had a terrific time. This event is organized by the Special Olympics and is open to anyone interested in taking part.


Mrs. Yasso and Mrs. Bryne work very closely together with the students and both agreed it was a very fun day for everyone. This was the first Special Olympics held at Brookdale Park, Bloomfield, which was very convenient since Bloomfield is so close to Nutley. Many other districts were a part of this event, some including Bloomfield and Belleville. Yasso said, “Our Nutley RIISE (Reaching Independence In Structured Experiences) students have participated in the Track and Field events where they competed in the 50 meter run and the softball throw.”There was also a long jump competition, in which the students may compete next year. All of the students that took part had a great time and are excited to do it again next year.


The students were split up according to how they qualified during the coaches preparation in training for the events. Yasso says, “The Special Olympics had multiple events happening at the same time. They had the softball throw, races, and long jump running simultaneously.”


The Nutley students who participated were: 

Justin Bejarano

Mirai Ishikawa

Daniel Thompson

Santino Farro

Justin Andros

Gabriel De Cicco


All of the RIISE students were so excited to be a part of the Special Olympics. Justin Bejarano was very confident heading into both of his events. He won the 1st place gold medal for the 50 meter dash in his group and 4th place ribbon for the softball toss. “It was a very good day, a little chilly though,” Bejarano said. 


Justin Bejarano was also chosen to recite the Special Olympics Oath. (Seen in the 8th picture above) “It was very special,” Yasso shared. 


Mirai Ishikawa got the 2nd place silver medal for both the 50 meter dash and the softball toss. He loved both events but specifically the softball toss better. He was so excited before the events and can’t wait to do it again next year. 


Daniel Thompson took silver in the 50 meter dash. In his group, he also placed 4th in the softball throw. Thompson stated, "I'd absolutely like to do it again." 


Justin Andros won a 4th place ribbon for both the 50 meter dash and the softball toss. He was very happy after the events and had loads of fun. 


Santino Farro had a great day participating and won a 5th place ribbon in the softball toss. He also went on to win the 4th place ribbon in the 50 meter race. The RIISE students also attend bowling once a week. Farro got a strike and spare one time he went as well.


Gabriel De Cicco won the 3rd place bronze medal in the softball toss and 4th place ribbon in the 50 meter dash. He was so happy to participate. 


The RIISE students all had a very fun and special day. They all can’t wait to participate next year and maybe add the long jump into their events. This day will always be remembered by all, especially the students.