Special Olympian reminds students what it’s about

Principal Todd Schmidt, left, and Special Olympic athlete Joseph Gorin laugh as students at Harbor View Elementary School ask questions of the four-time medalist during assembly on Monday. Newport Beach will be the host city for the 2015 Special Olympics to be held this summer.
(Don Leach, Daily Pilot)

Newport Beach students who are raising money for the 2015 Special Olympics Games got an extra dose of encouragement early Monday from a visiting Special Olympian.

The Harbor View Elementary students hope to raise $3,000 for the Games, which will be held in Los Angeles beginning July 25. Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach are among the communities that will serve as host towns for the 2015 Games.

Joseph Gorin, who was born with cerebral palsy, told several hundred Harbor View students at a school assembly Monday that he’d spent his childhood wanting to play sports, but was told such activities “were unsuitable” until Special Olympics came along.

Gorin now counts floor hockey among this favorite sports. For more than a decade, he has competed in that sport, along with softball, basketball, volleyball, bowling, track and field, and golf.

But what students really wanted to know was Gorin’s favorite movie: (“Star Wars”). And his favorite sports teams: (Angels, Lakers and Clippers). Oh, and favorite food: (sushi).

Logan Nixon, a fifth-grader and Harbor View student body president, said more than 60 students in fourth through sixth grade are organizing a carnival for April 3 to raise money for the Special Olympics.

“We’re so fortunate living in this area, and some kids aren’t,” the 11-year-old said.

Students from Harbor View’s sister school, Pomona Elementary School in Costa Mesa, will help out the day of the carnival.

Last year, Harbor View students raised nearly $2,500 for Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Harbor View Principal Todd Schmidt said.

Harbor View parent Ryan Taylor said the effort is student-driven.

“The kids really take ownership and make it their own,” he said.