Supporting teachers, supporting kids

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Armstrong Field Day highlights the spirit of teamwork

Kindergartners dance at Field Day.
Photo/Stephanie Graham

By Kate Tobiasson, Contributing Writer

Westborough – Melissa Callender has worked as a physical education teacher in the Westborough Public Schools for the last 20 years. As a coach and a teacher, she continues to be impressed with how Westborough shows its support of children. On June 17, Callender worked to help celebrate her students at Armstrong Elementary School’s Annual Field Day.

This is a huge event, and requires a tremendous amount of collaboration. There are dozens of stations for kids to travel through, and the day requires planning, equipment, and management.

“My principal (John Mendes) is a huge supporter. He has a philosophy of ‘all hands on deck’ for this day. Everyone is outside with the kids, helping me set up, running around with the kids, and managing things. I also have very strong support from the parent group; they brought in a DJ, and did an enrichment portion for the younger kids while I worked with the older kids. Colleen Dowd is my go-to parent, she made this day happen and come together,” explained Callender.

Throughout her tenure, Callender has been a teacher who works to support students, giving them room to grow. To do this successfully, she explained that she needs the support of administrators, colleagues, and parents. Callender credits the success of this field day to her wonderfully cooperative colleagues, as well as the parent group and administrators.

“I’ve been teaching in the district for years, and haven’t been at the elementary schools in a long time. I was so surprised to see the parents lining up to give every kid a high-five when they go in for the opening ceremony. Last year was my first field day at Armstrong, and I was very emotional!” admitted Callender. “I ’ve never seen that much support from the community before. Field Day helped me see what a wonderful place this could be, and demonstrated the collaboration in the community and how hard people are willing to work to create a memorable day for kids.”

Armstrong students assemble for Field Day.
Photo/Stephanie Graham
Teachers Melissa Callender (l) and Sue Conely
Photo/courtesy Melissa Callender
Stephanie Graham, future APG co-president takes some water cannon shots on the field.
Photo/courtesy Kyle Graham