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Massapequa Students Assist Special Ed Athletes

It was a sight to see at Mitchel Field in Uniondale when close to 150 students from the Massapequa Public School District turned out to support their schoolmates and other athletes from across Long Island at the Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged. Berner Middle School Physical Education Teacher Ed Hoffman coordinated the event with enthusiastic physical education and special education teachers from buildings around the district. Massapequa students from the elementary level through high school volunteered their time to attend the games and support 13 of their schoolmates who were participating in the day’s competitive events.


Student groups such as “Athletes Helping Athletes” and the National Junior Honor Society at Massapequa High School – Ames Campus were happy to hold high their hand-made signs of encouragement as they cheered both verbally and in sign language for the proud Empire State Games athletes. Other students were nominated, hand-selected or recruited by Berner Middle School Physical Education Teacher Kerri Regan, who was charged with organizing student-athlete boosters to attend and show their support for the participating athletes during the games. Student helpers were busy on the track participating in various physically challenging events themselves, alongside the athletes. At the end of the day, all of the students took with them a sense of accomplishment, community, and a lesson in selflessness that they will not soon forget.