SPRINGFIELD TWP.  Student athletes from Spring Hill Elementary, Schrop Intermediate School and Springfield Junior/Senior High School recently came together to compete in the Special Olympics held at Nordonia High School.

The Springfield students who participated in running and field events were:

Spring Hill: Alex Dodson, Leilani Hauck, Aubrey Harper, Brendan Pyle, Matthew Morrison, Aidan Liddle, Isaac Chaffman, Isaac Lauper, Brielle Wearstler, Jonathan Nice and Taylor Ware. 

Schrop: Kyle Bolinger, Alajsia Brooks, Caleb Coss, Nick Greathouse, Alex Kendall, Madison Mcmillen, Gavin Petty and Hayden Wilt.

Springfield High School: Cade Carter, Joey Ricci, Malachi Manhart and Jenna Holmes. 

Spring Hill teacher and Intervention Specialist Stacie Pendergast said despite the rain, the students from Springfield and 11 other school districts enjoyed the competitions, fun activities and the socializing.

As part of The Leader in Me program at Spring Hill Elementary, students were able to choose Disability Awareness as one of their lead groups. Each week, for one semester, students learned about different disabilities. 

"They particularly enjoyed making their names using the Braille alphabet and learning some basic sign language," said Pendergast.

All students that completed the disability awareness class were given the opportunity to apply to be a Spartan Buddy and attend the Special Olympics with the athletes. Eleven students were chosen based on their answers on the application. Those students were Lily Norris, Peyton Volk, Baylee Proctor, Phoenix Walters, Haley Beach, Jessie Baker, Jordyn Scott, Gaige Green, Emily Wilmoth, Legend Shaffer and Garrett Murphy.

Rosalynd Liddle also attended as a buddy to cheer on her brother, Aidan.

"We cheered for everyone and we got to do extra things to help our buddies," Proctor said. "We got to go run a lap around the track."

Springfield's Director of Special Services Brad Beun added, "These types of days are a great experience for Springfield students. It is great to watch the peer buddies interacting with the participants and watching them cheer the student on."

Norris, a second-grader and peer buddy, said her favorite part of being a buddy was when they got to jump with the Olympians and when "I was cheering for all the kids."

Polk, also a second-grader, agreed that is was fun to jump and cheer.

Liddle, a second-grader and buddy to her Olympian brother Aiden, said she cheered for him and helped him to be where he needed to be.

Beun said Special Olympics is a wonderful opportunity for the students to participate and build up confidence in themselves and their abilities. This is the second year the students from Springfield have participated in the event.

"Once again we would like to thank Nordonia for hosting us and organizing such a great event," Beun said.