This past week, Marlington hosted their annual Champion Day inside the high school’s football stadium. Schools from around the district and even some as far as Fairless came out in support of the event; an event that celebrates kids with mental disabilities and gives them an opportunity to participate in a variety of sports that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to at their school.
The day is coordinated by athletic director Steve Miller and MHS football head coach and teacher Beau Balderson. During the day, small groups of kids rotated between multiple 5-minute courses designed after a particular sport. Within each stage, two or three students athletes from MHS helped in assisting the kids in the game. Each and every sport that our high school offers was presented during the event, and judging by the reactions from both the kids and older helpers alike, it was a huge success.
The kids were also treated to a grand entrance before the games even started. Their names were announced by volunteer commentator Riley Sampson over the loudspeakers as they sprinted out in a line of band players and cheerleaders - similar to the football team’s entrance.
Everyone that helped and participated in the event had at least a somewhat strong realization on the full scope of putting on and hosting a gathering such as this. It’s not often that schools get the opportunity to highlight something so central towards bettering one’s community like special needs awareness, and it’s certainly something that the staff involved did not take for granted.
Speaking on the importance of the whole event, Mr. Balderson expressed how great it is to see something like this come to fruition.
“It’s a really special event”, he adds. “It’s eye-opening to a lot of our students, and it’s awesome to see them work so well with [the special needs kids]”.
Mrs. Francis - who was on the field the entire day helping with the cheerleaders and other happenings - also had some powerful words to say as to what this means for our community and school in general.
“I think it’s a great way for our kids to give back to our community, give back to society, and to help those who can’t do the things they do. This is such a great way for our kids to show these kids how fun it can be.”
Building on what both Mr. Balderson and Mrs. Francis had to say, it should be noted that so much of the event’s success can be attributed to the MHS students that cut time out of their school day to come and help the special ed kids have the time of their lives.
Molly Louive helped out at the cross country station during the afternoon, and she had this to say when asked what it meant to be helping as a student.
“It feels great honestly, and it feels like I’m doing my part to help out as much as possible.”
Overall, this event is just another example of the lengths that Marlington go to in fulfilling a sincere community image - an image that will make the people that surround it want to do as they do. The recent showcase will prove to inspire the ones that follow for years and years ahead.