Sports Day gives elementary students chance to shine through friendly competitionSep 08, 2022 12:53PM ● By Julie Slama
South Jordan Elementary sixth-grader Trent Corum was pretty excited about getting a chance to win some ribbons at Sports Day.
“I like running short races,” he said. “I’m faster than my teacher and I can probably throw farther too.”
Trent, his classmates and other elementary students with special needs around Jordan School District came together for Sports Day, an opportunity to display their skills they learned in adaptive PE classes while having a fun competition against others the same age and the same ability.
His teacher, Kelli Sundell, said it was an event some of her students looked forward to while others didn’t even remember it.
“It’s been a couple years since we’ve been able to hold it for all schools to get together because of COVID,” she said, pointing out the pandemic safety and health protocols restricted the District event. “That’s a long time in a young child’s life, but we’ve talked about all the fun we’ll have together and the fun way we can exercise with friends.”
Fifth-grader Lili Mattson remembered competing before and was pumped to run and throw a softball.
“I have a lot of ribbons from before on my bedroom walls – blue, green, red, orange; I want pink this year,” she said. “We’ve been practicing for Sports Day. We run laps around the school field, and I try to outjump my friends because I want to win. Winning is fun, but I need to remember to just do my best.”
South Jordan Elementary students, like many other schools, received a clap-out and good luck wishes before boarding a bus for Herriman High, where teams from across Jordan School District came together to parade in front of family, friends and Utah First Lady Abby Cox, who was a former special education teacher.
“I want you to be a friend and I want you to make sure everyone feels a sense of love and belonging today,” Cox said. “That’s what today’s all about. It’s about helping each other and loving each other.”
River’s Edge students carried the American flag in the stadium.
“They were excited to be asked,” 20-year special education teacher Melissa Munson said. “Our kids are excited to show their parents and audience the skills they’ve practiced all year in their adaptive PE classes. Some of them are more excited for that than the ribbons.”
Photos of Sports Day are included in the school’s yearbook, so students get to relive the excitement of the day, she said.
After the parade, many parents came onto the field to cheer on their student-athletes as they rotated between events.
The competition began with the 400-meter dash. Then school groups, dressed in matching team shirts, rotated between the softball throw, a long jump and a 50-meter dash, many of the events coordinated by volunteers.
Aaron Simpson was on the field supporting his first-grade daughter, Ansley, who attends Antelope Canyon.
“She loves being active,” he said. “She’s constantly running up and down the street, asking to do things with me. She was pretty excited for this day.”
After throwing the softball, Ansley started dancing in celebration.
“She’s just having so much fun,” her dad said.
That’s what Michele Couvertier, a teacher at Daybreak Elementary for 19 years, appreciates about Sports Day.
“It’s a special day for students because they’re at the center of attention, showing the skills they’ve learned to their parents,” said “It’s just such a fun family day where we all get to celebrate together.” λ