Matanzas High School has been hosting ESE Field Day for four years.
Pirate Nation seems to be ahead of the power curve, when it comes to taking care of their students with special needs.
Whether its students like former football player Daniel Dillard befriending Michael Bailey and took him to his first football game or former cheerleader Kelsey Sweeney asking Keaton Wilburn to prom, Matanzas has made it a team effort to make all of their students feel special.
Matanzas held its ESE Field Day Friday, May 12, at the football field. Field day is a day of sports activity for its most high-functioning ESE students to their students with severe physical and cognitive impairments.
Each student — no matter the condition — participates in at least one activity for everyone, whether it’s a race on the track, kickball, football, dancing or other events.
Deirdre Rutledge’s first and second period classes played a role in the day doing face painting, and James Murphy's Leo Club students helped set up, tear down and assist in the events and sports.
Athletics Director Rich Weber sent a few athletes to DJ the event, and Principal Dr. Earl Johnson participated in several races, kite-flying and in intense game of kickball. Also, Assistant Principal Cara Cronk ran the 200-meter race.
ESE Field Day began four years ago, when the ESE assistant principal asked Special Design P.E. Instructor Julie Huesser to start it. Now, she and Sandra Oliva supervise and construct the annual event, which had 40 students this year, making it the biggest field day ever.
Ever since Johnson and Weber took over as principal and AD, they have continued to show up to support their school’s programs in ways I’ve never seen nor heard.
When I think of administration, I often visualize suits and rules, not cheering, participating and making everything more exciting. Weber had the Matanzas cheerleaders at a bowling match this year. Who does that?
When he first took over, Weber told me he would change the culture. It’s changed.