Olympic Games take center stage at Midlands middle school

ELGIN, SC (WIS) - Classrooms have been turned into countries at Leslie M. Stover Middle School in Elgin as students mirror the upcoming summer Olympic games through Field Day activities.

This "Cool School" allowed each of its 24 homeroom classes to pick a country that is competing in the 2012 Olympic Games.

The students were challenged to learn about each country's culture and history, and then they were asked to show their country's spirit during the school's 'Opening Ceremonies.'

"They came up with the different colors, the T-shirts, the posters and they had to create an original flag," said Cassandra Mickle, the school's art teacher and field day coordinator. Each class was also required to give a 3 minute presentation about their country before the school.

Teachers also took the chance to educate students on the history of their school as they learned the history of the Olympic Games. "This school was started as an elementary school back in 1999 and it is named after a guy named Mr. Leslie Stover," said Mr. Mike Garity, principal at Leslie M. Stover Middle. "He served this community for more than 30 years, so this school has been named after him and is in his honor, and we wanted to tie that in to what the students were learning."

Students learned that when the first edition of the modern Olympic Games was held in 1896 in Athens, there were 245 competitors from 14 countries. The most recent Olympic Games had more than 10,000 athletes from more than 200 countries.

Teachers organized games that would mimic sports that summer athletes will compete in this year. In a triathlon challenge, teachers challenged the students to scoot across the gym floor on tricycles, paddle on their stomachs using a skateboard and run through a tire obstacle course. "We thought to [incorporate biking] it would be a fun thing for the kids to use the tricycles, and to use the skateboards as our swimming and of course the tires as the running part of this event," said Mickle.

The Stover Olympic Games will wrap up Friday afternoon with the presentation of the 'Tiger Torch,' or the classroom that takes home the most medals.

"It's a very prestigious award and these kids are going to fight like champions to be the bearer of the 'Tiger Torch,' said Coach James Baker. "It will mean a lot of bragging, and maybe even extra ice cream at lunch…we'll see," added Baker.

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