Fifth-graders from The Wampus Elementary School in Byram Hills ran their annual “Special Olympics” for children with special needs on June 13 after students brought in their own indoor basketball nets, hula hoops and floor hockey games so that the annual event could go on despite the rain.
With stormy weather threatening to rain out the event for a second time, teachers and students cancelled outdoor activities like a water balloon toss and soccer, and substituted games that could be played in classrooms and school hallways, according to a press release from Putnam/Northern Westerchester BOCES. With the Wampus students helping their 20 visitors from Southern Westchester BOCES, the games went off amidst plenty of smiles and high fives.
“I felt good about running a booth because we were all having so much fun,” said Wampus fifth-grader Will Mykytiuk, who helped students shoot baskets and try out indoor golf. Will’s classmate Bryan Roden said he played with a BOCES student who was about to celebrate his birthday.
“He told us that he was having so much fun that he wanted to come back tomorrow for his birthday,” Bryan said.
Fifth-grade teacher and organizer Janet Thompson said both the Wampus students and their visitors, whose classes are hosted by the Kensico School in the Valhalla school district, look forward to spending the day together.
“It’s important for our students to be with children who have different abilities and skills than themselves and for them to recognize that these children want to be as happy, loved and successful as they are,” said Ms. Thompson.
Fifth-grader Ana Vataj plays hula hoops with 10-year-old Matthew Hawley, a Southern Westchester BOCES student, at the annual “Special Olympics” run by Wampus Elementary School in Byram Hills.