Mapleton Jr. High Hosts Its 5th Annual Special Education Sports Fair

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Last Thursday, Mapleton Jr. High hosted yet another very successful sports day for all special needs children from the junior high schools in Nebo School District.  Under the direction of Coach Linda Lewis and Special Education teacher Jo Edan Parker, the event provided a day of sports and fair activities for nearly 300 students.   Nearly 100 special needs children were escorted through 14 events by peer tutors from each of the junior high schools.  Mapleton Jr. provided extra peer tutors and students from their service learning and student government classes to score, time, and run each of the booths.  The events included high jump, 100 meter race, archery, softball throw, a fish pond, face and nail painting, bean bag toss games, throwing games, golf and croquet putt, and bowling.  After participating in each of the events various students were awarded medals for their accomplishments.  Each participant went home a winner as they all received prizes, a t-shirt and a dog tag necklace.  On each necklace were the words, “We believe in the power of the dream.”   Each T-shirt read, “The power of the dream.”  These quotes symbolize Nebo’s superintendent Rick Nielsen’s theme presented to all teachers at the beginning of this year to “live the dream.”   This entire event is indeed a dream come true for the two teachers, Lewis and Parker, who organized it five years ago.  Miss Parker has such a love for her special needs children and wanted them to be involved and included, not shunned, from the rest of the student body.  Coach Lewis, PE teacher and intramural director for MJHS had the means to help make that happen.  What started out to be an intramural activity with just students from MJHS, the Special Education Sports Fair Extravaganza has developed into one of the most anticipated events of the school year.   At the end of the day Lewis and Parker concluded with a message to all the peer tutors at MJHS.   “Thank you to all you wonderful students who served as peer tutors and made my children smile,” said Parker.    Completely unaware of a participant’s father standing in the foreground, weeping, Lewis concluded with telling her peer tutors how they…” were the ones who would benefit most from this day, for this day’s experience would remain with them for a lifetime. “  Lewis and Parker want to thank all those involved in this special day and for making yet another dream possible.