Students take part in first annual Pine Island Activity Day

[anvplayer video=”5178114″ station=”998128″]

(ABC 6 News) – Pine Island Activity Day was created by teachers to help students with disabilities get to participate in sports and socialize with fellow students with disabilities.

Ben Balau, a 7th grader at Pine Island Schools, enjoys the social aspect. “It makes me feel like I am not alone.”

Pine Island schools partnered with Special Olympics Minnesota.

Lindsay Kauffman works for Special Olympics Minnesota and has a brother with Down syndrome.

Being a part of an event like this hits home for her. “Such a great staff here in Pine Island, and I am excited to get to continue to work with them as well.”

All students participating were in elementary or middle school and were partnered with a high school student.

Students competed in numerous track and field events.

While there was competition and awards, special ed teachers Alex Robideau and Mary Smith are glad students got to participate and have fun.

“It’s just really awesome to see how well they work together and how much fun they’re having,” says Robideau.

“It gives the kids one more opportunity to be recognized,” says Smith.
Ben Balau has taken part and is proud of who he is.

“I don’t care what people think; I’m just my own self.”

With the success of this program in its first year, it will almost certainly be brought back next year and in the years ahead.