UNION, NJ – Three Burnet Middle School students were recognized by the Board of Education on Tuesday for their accomplishments at the recent New Jersey Special Olympics Summer Games at The College of New Jersey.
Eighth grader Orenthea Senior won a Gold medal in shot put and a Gold medal in the javelin.
Seventh grader Wilbert Jones won a Silver medal in the shot put.
Morris O'Neal, sixth grader, won a Gold medal in the 25 meters and a Silver in the 50 meter dash.
Awards were presented to each of the athletes by Kim Conti, Director, Special Services. “I’m proud to recognize this group of talented students.”
“Five years ago, the Board of Education approved the Play Unify grant and every year we try to do a little bit more,” said the program’s founder and Burnet School teacher Diana Pielech. “The grant has allowed for our students to participate in sports after school with their Unify partners. This year, Ms. (Maria) Fiordilino and Mr. (David) Castaneda said ‘that’s not enough. We need to do more.’ And they did it all.”
Kicking off the Special Olympics weekend competition, the students first participated with law enforcement officers, members of the Union High School cross county running club, the RWB Racing Team, and other organization members, in the annual Torch Run, beginning at the Union Police Department.
“I am honored to coach them and teach them,” said Pielech, “and I’m also honored to work with Ms. Fiordilino and Mr. Castaneda because what they do for my students after school and on the weekends is above and beyond.”
This is the first student team in Burnet’s history to compete in Special Olympics track and field.