All smiles at Pathfinder Special Olympics Track & Field Day

MENDON — The energy produced by students’ smiles, positivity and laughter reverberated across Mendon High School’s football field Tuesday, as student athletes partook in Pathfinder Special Olympics Track & Field Day.
“I love seeing them happy. Everyone is, even if they couldn’t do it or didn’t get first place, they are trying their best and smiling,” Mendon senior Hannah Frye said.
Mendon’s National Honor Society students partnered with students from the Peer Assistance program at Sturgis High School, to assist with the fun for around 100 students from Pathfinder. Trudy Camp, adaptive physical education teacher at Pathfinder, said students who are impaired or dealing with a disability receive special treatment through the program. She said the track and field day is one of her favorite days for students to share and be together.
“A day like this is what brought me to special education {…},” Camp said.
Mendon NHS Advisor Lisa Vedmore said she had a “proud mom moment,” while watching her students interact with Pathfinder students. She said she had to take a few minutes and walk inside to have a good cry.
“This is what it is about, teaching them to give and give back,” Vedmore said. “They out do my expectations every time.”
Pathfinder students had a busy day. In the morning, the fun started after they laced up their tennis shoes and hit the track. Mendon NHS Co-president Kaley Smith said she experienced something that put a smile on her face while running next to a Pathfinder student during a race.
“Just a bunch of happiness. Although we were in the back, we were talking and smiling and she was so happy and excited for the ribbon, she didn’t care about being in the back,” Smith said.
The day ended with field activities, which included long jump, high jump and wiffle ball.
This year was the first Special Olympics event for Vedmore as NHS advisor. She said it opened her eyes to why she became the NHS advisor in the first place.
“This has been the most awarding experience in my professional career, maybe even my personal career, being their advisor,” Vedmore said.
Samantha May can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or samantha@threeriversnews.com.

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