Puyallup: News

Puyallup School District special needs track meet gives students a chance to excel

Joshua Olels, left, races down the track in the 50-meter race during the Special Spring Track Meet at Sparks Stadium on Friday.
Joshua Olels, left, races down the track in the 50-meter race during the Special Spring Track Meet at Sparks Stadium on Friday. jbessex@gateline.com

Meeker Elementary School special education teacher Jeana Wolff was proudly watching her students compete Friday as part of the Puyallup School District’s annual Special Spring Track Meet at Sparks Stadium.

“They don’t always get an opportunity to compete,” Wolff said. “Here, they have people cheering for them and really supporting them. It’s a really collaborative and cooperative environment.”

Her strong desire to see her students compete and finish their event was evident Friday while watching the 50-meter event. When one of Wolff’s students tripped during the event, she sprung into action, helping him up and eventually crossing the finish line with him.

Wolff wasn’t the only staff member or volunteer lending a hand to athletes and fostering an environment of support and camaraderie. Screaming fans, parents and friends gathered at Sparks to celebrate another successful year for special education students in the district.

The annual Special Spring Track Meet is a district-wide event, with 19 schools and 325 special needs students and an army of volunteers and staff participating. The meet is a highly anticipated event for parents, students, teachers and volunteers alike.

Rogers High School student and participant Jonathan Jennings, 19, says it doesn’t matter what he’s doing at the annual track meet, as long as he’s having fun.

“I like seeing all the people here,” he said. “And all of my friends.”

Zach Moore, 18, and also a student at Rogers High, says the key to success at the track meet is focus and energy.

“I really like seeing others do their best,” he said.

The meet is something all 325 students look forward to all year.

“It’s fun for them to see their friends — and old teachers,” said PHS special education teacher Peggy Haskey. “Everybody gets recognized.”

Haskey and her students make several trips to the track throughout the year to prepare them for the big event.

“It’s something they look forward to every year,” she added.

Heather DeRosa: 253-256-7043, @herald_hderosa

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