Line Mtn. students get in the Olympics spirit
TREVORTON - Trading in skates for fun slides and sleds for scooters, Line Mountain Elementary School students participated in their own winter games Friday to coincide with the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
With unbridled enthusiasm, approximately 475 children in kindergarten through fourth grade skied, skated, luged, bobsledded and slalomed in the cafeteria, gymnasium, classrooms and hallways of the three-story school building.
At the ski station, students shouted their fellow team members on with yells of "Go go go!" or "Left! Right! Left! Right!" At the cup stacking event, they showed their support with chants of students' names. Victory dances were as common as wipeouts for each event, but not one student seemed to mind.
"If I could measure it in smiles, it's going fabulous," Principal Jeanne Menko said.
Friday's Line Mountain games ended a week of celebrating other cultures by eating special meals, participating in different activities and learning about each country and winter Olympic events.
The goal was to provide the students with a more global perspective of current events, Menko said.
The opening ceremony started at 9:30 a.m. with a parade of countries. Kindergarten represented Japan; first grade; Norway; second grade; Canada; third grade, Russia, and fourth grade, Austria. Students wore shirts they made earlier in the week and waved flags around the gymnasium.
To kick off the games, fourth-grade students Emily Gonsar and Riley Young lit the torch (paper streamers flowing by way of an air machine to signify fire), and Menko officially announced the start of the games, spawning a thunderous "WOOOOOOO!" from the student Olympians.
Thirty-two educators and 68 volunteer parents kept the students moving to each of the 12 games, which consisted of skiing, stacking cups, snowball throwing, curling, speed skating, figure skating, downhill slalom, bobsledding, luge, ski jump on the Nintendo Wii, ice hockey and a biathlon.
The students events were slightly altered to provide a safe alternative to their Olympian counterparts. For example, instead of skates, they used special shoes called fun slides; instead of sleds, they used scooters, and instead of snowballs, they used bean bags.
Simeon Zablosky, a 10-year-old fourth-grade student taking a break from the ski event, liked the ski jump the most. "Normally, you don't get to play video games in school," he said.
It's important for kids to learn about history and current events, he said.
During the week, he learned how to say hello and goodbye in other languages and discovered Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was from Austria.
"We're having such a great time bringing the world in through the Olympics," first-grade teacher Jill Lundy said.
The students have been displaying team work and cooperation while having fun, said fourth-grade teacher and elementary head Amy Young.
"It helps them learn about countries and important events in the world, and it helps them get to know each other outside a classroom setting," she said.
School director Lauren Hackenburg, who was assisting at the Wii ski jump station, complimented the administrators, teachers and parents who made the event possible.
"It's really great to be a part of all this," she said.
Menko was grateful for the teachers stepping up and parents volunteering.
"What does that say about our community?" she said.