Return to Headlines

Students with Disabilities Go for Gold at Evanston Academy's Olympic-Themed Field Day

The Olympic flame may be lighting up Paris this year, but for Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) students, the spirit of the games ignited early at Evanston Academy!

The district celebrated the return of its Olympic-themed Field Day, a special event designed for students with disabilities, which brought together students from College Hill Fundamental Academy, Covedale School, Mt. Washington School, Silverton Elementary School and Evanston Academy.  

Studnets BasketballJames Crook, a PE teacher at Evanston Academy, was instrumental in organizing this event. "We have special events for all our autism units," Crook explained. "This is something we started two years ago to focus on our kids with disabilities, giving them their own field day where they can have fun without having to share their time with so many other students."

The event, first conceptualized by Crook and Kevin Williams, now principal at Silverton, began two years ago. "We debated on whether to run it like the real Olympics or more like a field day. We decided on a field day format," Crook said. "The first year was a success with awards and pizza at the end, making it a great experience for our children with disabilities."

Despite a hiatus last year due to scheduling conflicts, the event made a triumphant return. The feedback from the inaugural event was overwhelmingly positive with both students and staff expressing their enjoyment and appreciation. 

"Seeing the students having fun, especially those with disabilities, is a joy for me," Crook said. "Even the adults are having a blast, and that’s the most important thing – that everyone enjoys themselves and leaves with a smile."

The field day featured a diverse array of activities designed to cater to every student, including beach ball soccer, relay races, obstacle courses and balloon tennis. There was also an outside art station for students to draw on the ground, creating beautiful artwork for everyone to admire. Additionally, a music section allowed students to drum and make their own music, adding a rhythmic touch to the festivities. 

Crook hopes the district will continue to support and grow this initiative. "As much as the district can support it and keep it growing, I think it could become even bigger. It’s a joy, and I hope we can continue it.