By Kate Tobiasson, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Entrenched in the history of the school culture, field day is celebrated each year by students, parents and faculty at the Annie E. Fales Elementary School in Westborough. This year’s event did not disappoint.
“Field Day is such a special event,” said Fales Principal Maryann Stannard. “It provides us with an opportunity to gather as a learning community to celebrate the importance of cooperation, wellness, and having fun.”
“Field Day has been going on since I was a student at Fales, at least 30 years ago,” added Matt Travis, physical education teacher and leader of the event.
The day kicked off with a school wide choreographed dance, and hundreds of parents turn out each year to watch the students join together to celebrate the themes of the day.
“I work to combine all of the things that we learn throughout the year in cooperation activities during field day. Cooperation is what leads to more fun; you need to cooperate with leaders, friends, be a good winner and loser to have more fun!” Travis said. “My favorite part of field day is that it is a day that could make a child’s year. The kids continue to talk about this day in high school.”
Throughout their time in Travis’ classes, students work to hone their cooperation, movement, rhythm and citizenship skills through play based activities. Physical Education classes in Westborough are about much more than playing sports with kids.
Throughout the school year, Travis practices field day activities with the students, preparing them for the big day. With the help of parent volunteers, he coordinates facilitators of the event, and has written instructions and a video demonstration of each event. This year, Leah Bouchard led the charge, working tirelessly to coordinate parent volunteers and working closely with Travis to pull off a successful event.
“We do the classics for field day like egg and spoon and sack races, but we also do things like a parachute station, flag tag and the water bucket fill, where one kid runs up the hill, fills the sponge with water and the sponge is handed down the line to fill a bucket. The kids loved it!” Travis said. “There are so many fun activities throughout the day. The parents have really stepped up to make this a better event.”
“Flag tag and the opening dance were my favorite,” said second-grader Owen McCarthy. “We would practice some of the games during PE class. We learned flag tag by going outside on the jungle gym and we would use the flags to play tag. It was fun to play…The whole game needs teamwork.”
The culmination of field day is when the entire school gathers for an event coordinated by Stannard.
“At the end of the day, we had people who came to dance with us. We clapped and had popsicles together as a school. It took cooperation to be able to get everyone into the space to be able to gather to see them,” McCarthy said.
“Most importantly, I couldn’t do this without the parents; it was too much for me to handle. Every year, parents work hard to help make this day happen,” Travis said. “It is wonderful.”