By Chris Hash
Editor of Mapleton News
Nebo School District held its annual Super Stars Track and Field Day at Maple Mountain High School on Tuesday, April 30, 2013.
This event pairs special-needs students throughout the school district with student mentors to participate in track and field events. Most of the MMHS student mentors who were helping at the Super Stars track meet participate in sports at MMHS, and some are elite athletes, but all competitiveness was laid aside as participants ran, threw, and jumped to the cheers of the crowd.
“My class looks forward to this every year,” said Jennifer Waters, a teacher at Orchard Hills Elementary. “This morning, when I brought out the shirts, they were so excited.”
“It’s so fun to watch the kids and everyone who is helping them,” added Emily Adam, a student at MMHS.
Indeed, there was nothing but cheering, high-fives, and fist-bumps all around. It didn’t matter what you did or where you finished, students held hands, hugged, cheered, ran alongside, and awarded medals at the finish line.
“Our daughter loves this,” said the parents of a third-grade participant. “She’s been looking forward to it for weeks. She has endless energy today – I think she’s run in about ten races. And she’ll hang up her medals and talk about it for a long time. We are so grateful to the school and student helpers, it means the world to our daughter.”
The event took on special significance for some of the students, such as the sisters who made their way around the track as one sister, an elite cross country athlete, pushed her sister’s wheelchair.
One of the highlights of the day was the wheelchair race, where participants in wheelchair lined up around the track and took a lap around it, pushed by their mentors. Dave Boyack, athletic director at MMHS, announced that a record number of wheelchair participants were in the race this year.
“This is just a great way for our kids to give back,” said Darrell Wyatt, head track coach at MMHS. “It’s great for them to take a moment to let other kids get to do something they get to do all the time, and to feel the way they feel each day. It’s a perfect way to honor the community that takes care of us all so well.”