Summit Educational Service Center’s (ESC) Kids First and Transition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) programs participated in the Special Olympics hosted by Nordonia High School on May 18.
Students in the Kids First/TOPS programs who participated included first-grade student Kenny Glaze, third-grade students Charles Bowen and Owen Thomas, fifth-grade students Devon Sharpe and Sam Beebe, sixth-grade student Matthew Kollin and eleventh-grade student Tristan Cahoon.
Students could participate in a number of field, track, relay and unified relay competitions. The Kids First/TOPS students participated in a softball throw, standing long jump, a 10-meter assisted walk, a 25-meter assisted run and a 50-meter unassisted run.
The students competed against students from Aurora, Barberton, Copley-Fairlawn, Cuyahoga Falls, Nordonia Springfield, Stow, Tallmadge, Twinsburg and Woodridge.
Kids First/TOPS program’s staff members also participated by volunteering their time to assist during the events. Staff members included Program Coordinator Joe Rohr, Speech-Language Pathologist Jamie Harding, Behavior Certified Analyst Jessica Campagna Kids, Classroom Assistant Jodi Chumita, Classroom Assistant Rusty Rust, Classroom Assistant Chris Swauger, Medical Assistant Tonia Givens and Intervention Specialist Nick Landi.
Summit ESC staff members Kristin Fazio, director of student services, N’ecole Ast, director of professional development, and Brenda Palinkas, professional development secretary, also volunteered their time to help out.
“This was a fun day for everyone who competed or volunteered in the event,” said Joe Rohr, Kids First/TOPS program coordinator. “We would like to thank all of the volunteers and Nordonia’s Special Education Director Carrie Hutchinson for organizing such a great event.”
All students received a green ribbon for participating, and each school received a trophy.
“The students enjoyed participating in the events,” said Kristin Fazio, Summit ESC’s director of student services. “We had a great time volunteering and watching the students interact with and befriend students from local area schools.”
The mission of Kids First is to provide children with autism and behavior challenges an individualized learning environment, which will promote each child’s success through academic instruction, behavior intervention and enhancement of social and life skills.
The Mission of the TOPS program is to provide students with the opportunity to learn independence, academics, and life skills based on each student's individual needs in a safe learning environment.