Students competing in VIS Olympics

Published 4:36 pm Thursday, February 18, 2016

Students at Valley Intermediate School participate in the opening ceremony for the Physical Fitness Olympics. (Reporter photo / Jessa Pease)

Students at Valley Intermediate School participate in the opening ceremony for the Physical Fitness Olympics. (Reporter photo / Jessa Pease)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer

PELHAM— As the Olympic fanfare echoed through the gymnasium of Valley Intermediate School Feb. 16, the students proudly paraded along the perimeter, displaying the colors of their assigned country.

Each of the 30 classes at VIS was assigned a country to compete as in the school-wide Physical Fitness Olympics. Students are competing in eight events, which also includes the state’s required assessments.

“(My favorite part is) just seeing the kids compete against each other and have fun,” said physical education teacher Tammy Causey. “We throw in the other non-assessment activities just so it makes it more fun.”

Although this is Causey’s first year at VIS, she said she’s been hosting the Olympics for her students for several years, adding that she got the idea from her husband Tom, who now serves as the head football coach at Pelham High.

After taking the Olympic creed Feb. 16, the students will spend the next month or so competing in events consisting of: Sit-ups, push-ups, relays, team challenges, an obstacle course, the pacer, sit and reach and human bowling.

All the scores from one class will be averaged to determine which class scored the highest, and the winning teams in each grade will receive gold, silver and bronze certificates to display on their classroom door.

“It seems like the kids, when we do it in this format, they do so much better on their assessments because they are not so much focused on, ‘Oh I have to do sit-ups,’” Causey said. “They’re focused on, ‘If I do my best, I can help my team.’ Those little certificates, you would think it was gold because they just get really excited about it.”

After each event, Causey said she will announce the winners on the intercom for the whole school. Each class will be able to keep track of their progress through a results board.

Even the teachers get involved in the event, according to Causey. A few years ago, some of the teachers started getting competitive, so Causey decided to add a teacher challenge event.

Causey said it will be both physical and cognitive, such as shooting basketballs and putting together a skeleton puzzle.

“We don’t try to make it too physically challenging for the teachers, but the kids love it because their teachers get involved,” she said.

This is the second time the students have completed their state assessments, according to Causey. She said the first one, which they called Olympic Training, was in the fall, so she is looking forward to seeing how the students have improved.

“It’s my favorite time of the year because we get to have so much fun with it,” Causey said. “It’s been working really good, and over the years we’ve noticed how much they have increased.”