Traditionally the wheelchair races start off Superstar Day in the new gym at Morrison Elementary.
Kaid Benes and Josie Blankenship both competed in the yearly wheelchair races against other peers and faculty. Bob Nelson, 5th grade math teacher and coach, raced against Josie and Kaid. Khaden Cates, fourth grade classmate, also competed against them.
Josie and Kaid had practiced racing in their wheelchairs during gym class to get ready for this day. They chose fellow classmates and faculty to participate.
Wheelchair races included a race down the gym, around and back, and a relay race with several other participants.
Pre-K through fourth grades took part in the Superstar Day running events approximately 250 students. Coach Nelson called the races and some of his fifth- and sixth-grade track students handed out ribbons and held the finish line.
MES principal Christy Williams started the races. Coach Cory Bales painted the track lines out on the practice football field.
Retired Morrison P.E. teacher Patty Luter started Superstar Day in 1976, when students competed to go to area track meets. Since only a few could go, Luter started having a Superstar Day at the end of the year, that all elementary students could participate in.
Pre-K and Kindergarten ran the 50-yard dash. First grade ran the 50-, 75- and 100-yard dashes.
Second grade chose three races, adding the 200-yard dash option. Third grade also selected three, adding the 400-yard dash. Fourth grade chose three, adding the 800-yard dash to their selection.
Pre-K received participation ribbons for each runner. Kindergarten through fourth grades were awarded first through fifth-place ribbons.
Because of the muddy football field, they did their event at the football practice field. Students and parents sat close to the painted track. It was a pleasant day, after all the rain.
Students learn the difference between sprinting and pacing themselves as when running further for fitness testing.
Students practice good sportsmanship and encourage others. Morrison P.E. teacher and Superstar Day sponsor Susan Lalman said, “Students also learn to keep going and finish the race without quitting. We discuss in track, if you get out of your lane you are disqualified.”
The event lasts about two and a half hours, for which the weather cooperated.
“Superstar Day allows each student to be a star running on the track. It is a fun day to be with friends, family and be physically active,” Lalman said.
Amy Keith lives near and writes about the town of Morrison.