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Washington Voices

Developmental Olympics give students chance to shine

Thu., June 2, 2011

The sun was peeking out now and again when 96 students from Mead School District’s Developmental Learning Center got together on Wednesday last week to celebrate the Mead Developmental Olympics for the 10th year in a row.

“This is the best attendance we have at the Mead DLC Olympics,” said Ken Russell, Mead High School principal, during the opening ceremonies. “We are so fortunate to have a school district that’s small enough that it feels like we are all one community.”

The Developmental Learning Center students competed in yoga, baseball, volleyball and several other disciplines, including a bicycle course, and they come from high schools, middle schools and elementary schools throughout the district.

“We would love for more community members to just come and watch,” said Martha DuMerton, who was there with the children from Colbert Elementary School. “This is the one day where our students can really shine.”

And it was a full Olympic experience indeed, complete with an opening ceremony that included a performance by Mead High School’s band followed by the entrance of the schools’ individual teams, carrying banners and mascots.

Mead High School hosts the DLC Olympics and this year, as something new, all the high school students were given time off to come out and cheer.

DLC students moved from station to station, some starting with baseball, then moving on to yoga and then running, as an enthusiastic announcer kept everyone going from discipline to discipline.

Mead High School’s Breakthrough students use the DLC Olympics as their community service project, by helping to set up activity stations, cheer on and help the participating students and then take down and clean up after the games are over.

“Every year, as coordinators of the event, we get our committee together to discuss what went right and what we need to change for next year,” said Lindy Terry, a school psychologist with Mead School District. “This year we changed one of the events to yoga, and I think it was an absolute hit with everyone.” Terry added that one goal that remains the same every year is to make the event bigger and better.

Typically, there are plenty of volunteers among school staff, families and students, but this year the event couldn’t get team shirts for all the students because a business dropped its sponsorship.

“Because the budget looks so grim I’m not really sure what we need as far as community support for next year,” said Terry, “but one way or another it’s an amazing day.”

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