All eyes were on Marina High School sophomore student AJ Lopez as he zipped down the basketball court in his wheelchair during a power soccer game on March 28.
Held on campus during fourth period and lunch, school leaders invited classes to watch AJ and his teammates from LASC, a national championship-winning United States Power Soccer Association team, play a game with school administrator leaders like Principal Dr. Morgan Smith.
The association’s mission and hope is that all persons who use power wheelchairs will have the opportunity to play and experience power soccer. Athletes’ disabilities include quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and many others.
AJ is living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. The sophomore is involved in many campus activities and is a member of the yearbook committee.
The school administration encouraged students to attend the game to support their fellow Viking in his passion and emphasized the importance of school spirit and building a compassionate community.
“It was truly an honor and privilege to not only watch them compete in the sport that they love, but to also play with them in one of the power chairs,” said Assistant Principal of Activities Ashleigh Naughton. “They are an amazing group of young men that forever left a mark on our hearts.”
Here are the other stories we’ve been following this week:
- Continuing its support for youth civic engagement, the Orange County Department of Education is hosting the OC Civic Learning Celebration on April 27.
- Orange County students placed among the top scorers at the 44th annual California Academic Decathlon, with Woodbridge High School bringing home another third-place title at the state contest.
- The local Association of California School Administrators unveiled its list of 18 exemplary educational leaders who will be honored at an in-person event in May.
- Students at the Orange County School of the Arts held their second annual campus shopping event to promote thrifting and sustainable fashion.
- Newport-Mesa Unified and the city of Costa Mesa hosted an event designed to give girls and young women the opportunity to meet and talk to local women working in the engineering field.
- An eighth grader from McAuliffe Middle School who has volunteered for beach cleanups and made scarves for residents at a local hospice is on a mission to complete 100 hours of community service during this school year.
- The Westminster School District’s Board of Education voted last week to confirm the appointment of Dr. Gunn Marie Hansen as superintendent.
- Parents of a first-grader in Orange Unified filed a lawsuit alleging that the school board majority violated California’s Brown Act, the Register reported.
- The Irvine Unified School District held an Abilities Awareness Fair with hopes of teaching elementary school-aged children to instill empathy and foster compassion.
- The Huntington Beach Police Department determined that a potential threatening phone call made to the agency on Monday about Huntington Beach High School was a hoax.
- Marina High School is suspending all activities on the football field after a shorebird known as a killdeer landed there and laid a handful of eggs on the artificial turf.
- Nationally-ranked player Mika Ikemori has committed to playing tennis for UC Davis following her graduation from the Huntington Beach Union High School District.
- On a mission to build more female representation in science and engineering fields, Los Alamitos High School senior Sarah Saadeh gives one-hour STEM lessons to girls in second to sixth grade each week.
- More than 4,500 Orange County students attended the Children’s Water Education Festival to learn about the importance of conservation and how to make wise water choices.
This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroom, subscribing for emailed updates and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.