Loud cheers of happy children filtered through the School 4 gym Wednesday afternoon to end the first ever school Olympics.
School 4 Principal Kim Berlee Texter spoke of having the school Olympics every two years.
“We would love to keep up with it every two years,” she said of the three-week event. “We started a tradition this year.”
Physical Education Instructor A.J. Burnside started his first year at School 4 and wanted to do something special.
“This was a schoolwide effort,” he said. “We want to prepare the students geographically.”
The classes were mixed and placed on different teams made up of 24 countries.
Burnside said the idea was to have each grade mixed to work with students outside of their classes.
Every student won at least three awards (gold, silver, and bronze medals) and those who won more were acknowledged at the closing ceremony. Burnside made a total of 750 medals for the students.
There were eight games played – speed skating, bobsledding, biathlon, kings corner/pin dodge, skeleton, curling, marathon and scooter hockey.
Burnside wanted to keep as close to the real Olympics as he could with the students.
“We don’t have ice and snow,” he said. “We still did lots of games.”
The Olympic Oath was given by a student and revisited for the closing ceremony by Burnside.
“I promise to take part in the loyal competition of the Olympic Games, respecting the rules which govern them in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for my country and the glory of the sport,” he said.
There is a medal wall in the cafeteria which shows each team’s wins along with each individual.
“It is nice because each student can find themselves on the wall and see how they helped their team,” Burnside said. “I was updating it four times a day.”
The medal leaders for each grade were announced during the ceremony.
Kindergarten Medal Leader Alyvia DeJesus, representing Australia, won eight medals.
First Grade Medal Leaders Alyss Vasquez and Sebastian Cox, representing Japan, won seven medals.
Second Grade Medal Leader Julius Casey, representing Russia, won six medals.
Third Grade Medal Leaders Sierra Jacques and Jampaul Serrano, representing Switzerland and Norway, won eight medals.
Fourth Grade Medal Leader Javier DeJesus, representing United States, won eight medals.
Fifth Grade Medal Leaders Edgardo Febus, Jacinda Jackson and Donovan Lockett, representing Czech Republic, won seven medals.
School 4 overall winning country was Japan with 49 points. They represent Annette Morgan’s first-grade class and Mary Ivory’s fourth-grade class. Texter will throw them a pizza party.
“Each class selected a student to carry the torch,” Texter said. “They ran around the gym passing the torch to each other.”
Texter really enjoyed this and hopes to carry on the tradition of School 4 Olympics.
“I got to see kids participating,” she said. “The spirit of the Olympics was here.”
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