Durham District School Board (DDSB) celebrates equity and student success at the annual Abilities Track and Field Meet
On June 14, over 850 student athletes from 83 DDSB elementary and secondary schools competed in the annual Abilities Track and Field Meet at Oshawa Civic Field.
Originally a play day for elementary-level associated classes at Duke of Edinburgh Public School in Oshawa, the event is now modelled after the Durham Elementary Athletic Associate (DEAA) Track and Field event with student athletes competing in 20m, 50m, 100m, and 200m distance runs, shot put, softball throw, and long and high jump. Each athlete must train and send in their average times for the running events and distances for the field events. The students are then split up by ability as well as age, to ensure they are competing at the appropriate level to be successful.
Tracy Scott, an Educational Assistant at Bobby Orr Public School is one of the original organizers of the Abilities Track and Field Meet and has been involved in the annual event since 1999. “We wanted to give students an opportunity to participate in the same or similar events that are run at the area meets,” explains Scott. “We wanted the students to compete against other athletes with the same ability, giving them a sense of accomplishment while competing.”
The Will and the Courage
The day starts with all participants repeating the Athlete’s Oath: “More powerful than the will to win is the courage to begin.” And Jermaine Minott, in Grade 9 from Pickering High School, has the courage and the will, bringing home first-place ribbons for the 50m, 100m and 200m races. “I love running and winning,” says Minott. “I’ll be competing again next year, too. It’s all about motivating yourself.”
Gina Waduck, Co-curricular Athletic Program Coordinator has been involved in the Abilities Track and Field Meet for 17 years and looks forward to the event every year. “At the end of the day, students have ribbons all over their shirts,” says Waduck. “It’s like the Olympics or the Stanley Cup. Parents and coaches wait at the finish line and cheer their athletes on, schools set up their tents, there’s sometimes music playing at the finish line and you’ll often see people dancing. It’s just a really fun day.”