Games on the Green event brings special education students and peers together

'We're competing and having fun, building sportsmanship and just we're out here to have a good time'
Posted at 6:18 PM, Sep 14, 2023

BENNINGTON, Neb. (KMTV) — It was a day full of activities for special education students and their peers at Bennington High School. The students played a variety of games, rotating through bocce ball, hula hoop toss, spoon races and more.

"We're competing and having fun, building sportsmanship and just we're out here to have a good time," said Dean Wood, a Bennington life skills coach.

Wood started the event to encourage inclusivity.

"We want everybody to be involved and the more involved we are and the better we do at that, the better relationships and social skills we'll have," he said.

Sixty students from Bennington, Blair, Arlington, DC West and Fort Calhoun participated. That included special education senior, Adrianna Newton, whose favorite part of the day was the ball toss.

"Throwing the balls over there and just cheering for other people," she said.

Special education students ages 11-18 worked with each other and peer mentors, students their own age with the goal of having both walk away having learned something.

"I'm just here to have some fun and help a bunch of different schools come together with different opportunities to play games and meet new friends," said Bennington High School senior, Ashley Dierks.

Dierks works with the life skills program and helps special education students on a daily basis.

"There's definitely a lot of challenges with it every day. There's some struggles but it's really rewarding to see them have fun and get the opportunity to meet other students who aren't in the life skills community," she said.

The goal of the day was to set students up for success in and outside the classroom.

"This means a lot to me. I just love seeing all the smiles, the kids. Just the smiles make everything worth it," said Wood.

At the end of the event, students had a final game of freeze tag and lunch.

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