Field Day Rocks Spotswood's Appleby School

Appleby gym teachers, Jean Puff and Mike Reid, make their rounds during the annual Field Day activities at the Spotswood elementary school. Credits: Dawn Miller

SPOTSWOOD, NJ - The academic calendar must be nearing its end if it is field day. Remember those days? Kickball tournaments, three-legged races and tug of war? Spotswood's Appleby School celebrated their annual Field Day on Friday, May 27 with a whole host of fun, rocking activities organized by gym teachers, Jean Puff and Mike Reid.

Puff is a veteran Spotswood teacher that teaches at both the Schoenly and Appleby schools while Reid is a newcomer to the district, celebrating his first field day. Reid joined the Appleby staff in January after the retirement of longtime gym teacher, Mark Horvath prior to the school's winter break in December. Both teachers were all smiles yesterday as they made their rounds in a golf cart to oversea the friendly competitions between classmates.

Each grade level occupied a designated area and age-appropriate games were set up, including baton relays, tug of war, connect the box and steal the bean bag. Each grade also participated in differing relay races. The type of equipment depended on the grade level. Fourth graders did a relay race attempting to run or walk with a soccer ball between their legs while second graders used noodles.

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Parents and grandparents came to watch with many stopping by on their way to work. Classes were easy to find since every group sported their own custom-made tees with each class having their own unique color.

Typically, classroom teachers and support staff orchestrate the field events for their specific classes. However, this year's field day had a slightly new look; high school students. Each event was run by a sophomore from nearby Spotswood High School.

"We opened the process up to sophomore students," Mike Reid explained. "This is the first year we've done it. A lot of these students have participated in all of these games. It's been going really well. The kids are enjoying themselves and it's been helpful to the teachers."

Sophomore students were given the opportunity to volunteer to come over to the Appleby School to help out with field day. Students were given one activity to run in each of the four grade levels housed at the elemetary school. After the usual lunch break, the teenagers hit the field once again to assist during the kickball tournament either pitching or filling in on a team.

The extra hands did free up some time for teachers allowing them to get into the activities with their students instead of being the conductor. Fourth grade teacher, Megan Curto evened out one side during a round of Connect the Box while Kyle Harkins was able to get in on a spirited tug of war match with his second graders.

After all the grade levels took their normal lunch/recess periods, the fourth and fifth graders were back outside for the traditional kickball tournament. This year's matchup took on a different look as well as the two older grades went up against each other. In the past each grade level would play amongst themselves.

Reid explained that they wanted to change it up a bit and allow the students that may have siblings in another grade go head to head in a fun competition. In the spirit of sportsmanship and fun, a single winner wasn't crowned.

This year's field day was a warm one with temperatures in the upper 80s. However, the students, staff and high school volunteers had plenty of cool water to drink and took an ice pop break to recharge in between activities.

At the end of the day, happy and sweaty kids trickled outside to their waiting parents, eager to share the details of the day. It's a good thing it was the start of a long three day weekend since many looked ready for a nap. The teachers and teens were probably ready for one too, which is always the sign of a job well done.


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