Students in multi-disability classes in Alliance City Schools travelled to Perry High School today to participate in the Exceptional Olympics.
The students competed in events such as bowling, 50 yard dash, frisbee throw and more.
For the past six weeks students in Stephanie McKnight’s high school Sports Medicine classes were matched with younger students who were preparing to compete in the Exceptional Olympics. The High School students helped to coach them athletically and even spent time with them academically, working on school work together.
“It’s neat to watch the evolution of my students. Many of them haven’t been around students with special needs before so they are nervous. Then they meet the students and they fall in love within 15 minutes,” McKnight said.
Kathy Elliott teaches at the Alliance Early Learning School and her students participate in the Olympics.
She said the experience of high school students working with her students is impactful on everyone.
“It's a big brother/sister relationship that is created between the high schoolers and K-1 students. You see the high schoolers become more comfortable and compassionate for students with disabilities. My students are so excited to see their volunteer come each week and work just with them,” she said.
By the end, some of the High School students decide to change their career choice to one that works with special needs children.
This is the 33rd year for the Stark County Exceptional Olympics which is sponsored by the Canton Rotary Club and Perry High School.
The emphasis of the program is participating, not winning.
Great job to all Alliance students who participated or volunteered at the Exceptional Olympics event!
Char'Metria Rodriguez helps her partner student, Eizec Blackwell in class.
Lena Deleon helps her partner student Violet Bryant in class.