Quincy organizes a field day for special education

May 20—QUINCY — Connie Martin, director of special education for the Quincy School District, said she had a goal for the special education field day participants on Friday.

“I want them to be able to have their moment to shine,” she said. “To be able to participate in a sporting event and get their moment in the spotlight. And for their parents to see it.”

Life skills students from Quincy, Othello and Connell ran races around the Quincy High School track, jumping the long jump and throwing a rubber ball in a modified shot put event.

“There are just over 90 kids, from kindergarten to age 21,” Martin said.

Field Day is an annual event, with Quincy organizing it for the first time.

“This is the biggest we’ve ever done. We’ve never involved high school students before,” Martin said.

The participants lined up in front of the stands and drove around the circuit to kick off the day’s festivities. In addition to running, jumping and throwing, children could have their faces painted at a stall run by volunteers.

There were even volunteers all over the field, QHS students, teachers and local residents, working in the long jump pit and shot put circle, helping serve lunch and doing other chores. Martin estimated there were about 100 volunteers.

Among them were Quincy students Jesus Carrillo and Dashka Schaapman who recorded the results in the long jump. Schaapman said she is interested in a career in special education when she graduates, and participating in Field Day gave her some experience and a chance to provide Quincy’s life skills students with some support. Carillo said he had a family member with Down syndrome and thought it was a good idea to help.

Alyssa Ross, a speech therapist from QSD, ran the makeup booth.

“I work with the kids and of course wanted to volunteer and see them doing great,” Ross said.

“I want them to have a sense of community, that they can be as involved as their peers in general education and be supported by the entire district around them,” she said. “The most important thing, though, is the sense of community. They get the opportunity to do events that they wouldn’t necessarily do otherwise.”

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at [email protected].