Eight athletes show their skills at Pioneer Special Olympics

  • Kaylee Adamski, 6, bowls at the Special Olympics at Bernardston Elementary. May 2, 2017. Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • Dylan Snow, 8, participates at the Special Olympics at Bernardston Elementary. May 2, 2017. Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • Kaia Ladner, 7, lines up her bowling shot at Bernardston Elementary. May 2, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • Dylan Snow, 8, participates at the Special Olympics at Bernardston Elementary. May 2, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • Participants and helpers at the Special Olympics at Bernardston Elementary. May 2, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

By SHELBY ASHLINE
Published: 5/7/2017 11:06:05 PM

BERNARDSTON — Eight students hurried around the Bernardston Elementary School gymnasium, throwing bean bags, crawling through plastic tunnels and wheeling around on scooters.

With upbeat music playing, the students’ classmates, teachers and parents encouraged them from the sidelines, often joining them at the different stations to lend a helping hand.

The hour-long flurry of fun was part of the Special Olympics Young Athletes program, a district-wide display of skills that were learned through weekly training sessions, according to Sue Scott. Scott is physical education teacher at Pearl Rhodes Elementary School, Warwick Community School and Bernardston Elementary School, and also oversees Pioneer Valley Regional School District’s Special Olympics program.

Scott organized the inaugural Special Olympics Young Athletes event last spring, hoping to ensure every student has the opportunity to feel “excited and strong.”

“Sometimes, some of the typical events like your typical field day or your typical recess might be difficult for them,” Scott said. “I wanted to find a way to make them all shine … It’s a wonderful thing to have them shine and to see the excitement in their faces.”

Scott said there were nine athletes in all, with one absence, at the May 2 event. They had all trained at the schools they attend: Pioneer, Bernardston Elementary, Pearl Rhodes Elementary School and Northfield Elementary School.

“For each child, (training) looked a little bit different, because their needs are a little bit different,” she said. They learned gross motor skills like jumping, throwing and balancing.

“You really can see the differences,” Scott said, looking back at the students’ progression. She provided an example of one student who, though she has a hard time using her hands, resourcefully learned to propel a balloon with her feet, elbows and head.

To mark their accomplishments, Scott presented each young athlete with balloons and certificates of participation.

You can reach Shelby Ashline at: sashline@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 257




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