Area Students Were All Smiles At Inclusion Day
Thursday's event marks fifth year of high school students putting aside differences for a day of fun and learning to work together.
The South Carroll High School gym was full of smiles and happy faces Thursday.
The Winfield school played host to Inclusion Field Day for the fourth year in a row. The event is in it's fifth year for the county with seven of eight high schools taking part in the event.
Students from the county's Learning for Independence programs took part in the fun and games along with student helpers from area schools. There were 70 participants and 50 helpers at the event.
''We use general PE kids as buddies,'' said Ryan Kelly, Coordinator of Adapted Physical Education.
The helpers assisted at the 10 stations and acted as buddies. The general education students are also offered a leadership opportunity in the activity. The goal of the play day is to improve achievement for all students and to develop a strong value system, positive behavior, ethical decision-making and an appreciation for individual differences.
The students in the LFI program had the opportunity to interact socially and physically with general education students in noncompetitive cooperative activities.
''We did this to mix kids, This is to have fun'' said John Perna, a consulting teacher for the county.
''In general, Best Buddies gets kids incorporated in school and makes kids feel wanted. It gives me a better outlook on life,'' said Scott Andrews, president of the South Carroll Best Buddies club.
The stations covered everything from bowling and golf to bouncing balls on a multicolored parachute.
The activities are ones that they have taken part in at their own schools. ''It's cool that it's something they have practiced,'' said Kelly.
The students really enjoyed the activity stations, but when it was dance party time, they loved showing off their moves. They danced everything from the ''YMCA'' to the chicken dance. The last dance, ''The Electric Slide," saw four of the South Carroll football players join in.
When asked what he liked about the day, South Carroll senior Andrew Mitter said, '''I enjoy everything.''
Barb Berger, a co-advisors of the Best Buddies club with Jerome Ellis said, ''they will talk about this for days. It was hard to get them to study in first mod.''