MI Fifth Graders Meet Paraolympians

MI Fifth Graders Meet Paraolympians
Posted on 09/08/2016
Mason Intermediate students are getting a crash course in what the human spirit can accomplish.

Fifth grade gifted intervention Specialists Vicki Chappell and Lynne Hutchinson started a new unit of study with their students on the Paralympic Games. Chappell and Hutchinson had three guest speakers talk to their students in preparation for this year's Paralympic - which take place in Rio September 7-18, 2016. Dr. Kara Ayers, a 2004 Paralympian and Mason Resident, came August 29, April Kerley, a 2008 Paralympian and Mason Resident, presented August 31, and Jake Counts, a 2008 Paralympian presented on Sept. 7. Counts' presentation was funded by the MI PTO.

"We had about 150 students come and listen to April Kerley speak.  That represents about 75% of our gifted students who gave up their lunch/recess time with their friends to listen to April as she talked about her experiences in the Paralympic games, as well as her inspirational message about focusing on your abilities, not your disabilities. She brought in her "work in progress" prosthetic hand, being created by Xavier University on a 3D printer, as well as challenged the kids to a push up contest," said Chappell.

The students are researching the history of the Paralympics, the types of events that take place during the games, classifications and accommodations, famous Paralympians, and are also comparing these games to other large sporting events including the Olympics, the Invictus Games, and the Special Olympics.

On September 14, fifth graders will present their research to their classmates.

"Students will be the resident experts and teach in classes of fourth through sixth grade students," explained Chappell. "The teachers has been gracious enough to give up their time to allow our students to present their knowledge. We hope to not only inspire the MI campus with the incredible stories of athletes, but to plant the seeds of grit, perseverance, and growth mindsets.  Anything is possible!" stated Chappell and Hutchinson.
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