Lauren Bush

In the event’s eleventh year, the Nebo Special Education Extravaganza was another huge success. The seven junior high schools in the district came together with special needs students and peer mentors for a fun-filled day.

“The special ed kids just love it,” said Jo Edan Parker, special education teacher at Diamond Fork and one of the event’s organizers. “They’ve been talking about it for weeks and couldn’t wait to see their shirts and prizes.”

The students participated in fourteen different activities including bowling, ring toss, high jump, and face painting. The main gym and outside fields at Diamond Fork were filled with an excited energy as 102 special ed students and approximately 110 peer tutors joined in the fun.

Coach Linda Lewis, former P.E. teacher, organized and coordinated the event along with Ms. Parker. Coach Lewis said she is happy with how the event has grown over the years and how many people come and participate.

“It used to be just my P.E. students who served as peer tutors,” Coach Lewis said. “In the last few years we have included more peer tutors from participating schools and it’s made a big difference.”

Coach Lewis emphasized the profound impact this event has on those who serve as peer mentors.

“The special ed kids have a fun day, they get prizes and have a fun time,” she said. “But for the peer tutors, this is a day they will remember. It’s an everlasting experience. I’ve had students become Special Education teachers because of the experiences they’ve had with this activity.”

Coach Lewis further explained the impact it has on the school year. Now the peer tutors will see the special ed kids in the hallways and give a high five or offer to eat lunch with them.

“There’s 102 special education kids that will have a little more respect and love from their general education peers,” Coach Lewis said.

Following with Nebo District’s theme “Be a Nebo Hero” the students all received Hero T-shirts and bags with phrases like “Ka-pow!” on them to signify their work as heroes.

Pam Norton, District Level Specialist, said that many people help make this activity run smoothly.

“The teachers of these students are dedicated and work really hard for their kids,” Ms. Norton said. “The peer mentors involved are also so willing to help these students and create a positive experience for them.”