CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Champions were the center of attention Thursday in Canfield. The first-ever Champion Day was held at the high school for students with special abilities.
For two hours, 80 students with special needs experienced the “game day” thrill of several sports. Medals were also awarded.
“This is a day to celebrate differences and celebrate students with special abilities and be able to connect with them and give them a game day experience,” said Joe Knoll, Canfield Superintendent.
The kids had their names read over the loudspeaker at the stadium.
They could put on shoulder pads like the football team, kick a soccer ball and make a goal, and even play tennis — while getting help from the Canfield athletes in those sports.
“It’s a vision of our superintendent and a value of our community,” said David Spalding, Canfield Special Services Director.
There were students from Canfield, Poland, South Range, Springfield, Struthers, Leonard Kirtz and MCCTC. It was all organized by Knoll.
“I am really passionate about this piece when it comes to students with special abilities,” Knoll said. “I have a son that is actually here today that gets to enjoy this. I told our band that what is special for me is we are going to give five kids an opportunity to experience something that they probably will never get to do,” Knoll said.
Canfield athletes were also helping the students play lacrosse and even make a putt in golf.
But there was also the message about what it means to be a champion.
“What’s special for me is we’re going to give kids an opportunity to experience something they probably would never get to do,” Knoll said.
It all came together Thursday and it put smiles on everyone’s faces, even those who chose to do a short dash on the track.
The event created many wonderful memories and was a great learning experience for everyone.
“Honestly, I see students who are excited about being in school and learning. And learning does not occur just in the classroom,” Spalding said.
Canfield hopes to repeat Champion Day next year and invite more schools and special students to participate.