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Field day keeps Mars Area middle and primary students active

Eighth-grader Keira Matheis competes in the limbo activity during Games and Field Day at Mars Area Middle School Thursday in Adams Township. Joseph Ressler/Butler Eagle

Kids ran, jumped, shouted, laughed and played outside Thursday as part of Mars Area Middle School’s Games and Field Day assembly and Mars Area Primary Center’s Olympic Fun Day.

Returning in full for the first time since the pandemic, the events brought track and field events, collaborative games and tug-of-war competitions to the Mars Athletic Complex and the grassy yard outside the primary center.

More than 500 middle school students gathered in the stadium to participate and watch their classmates compete in activities like limbo and under-over basketball. Science teacher Amanda Stavish led the assembly, calling down groups of students to try their hand at the games.

Students compete in a potato sack race during Games and Field Day at Mars Area Middle School Thursday in Adams Township. Joseph Ressler/Butler Eagle

Homeroom groups competed against each other, and Student Council and their faculty advisors organized the activities.

The event had been canceled for the past two years, but returned this year as a two-hour-long break from classes and homework, explained middle school principal Todd Kolson.

Kindergartener Kellan Gosgrove runs back to his team for a water relay game during Olympic Fun Day at Mars Area Primary Center Thursday in Adams Township. Joseph Ressler/Butler Eagle

“We’ve had different versions of it,” Kolson said. “We’re able to somewhat get back to normal now. We did not have it last year. We were still a little reluctant on grouping everybody up.”

The middle school students, Kolson said, have just finished this week with their Keystone state tests on Monday and Tuesday, so the event was a chance for kids to get their energy out.

“Everybody’s excited for the summer,” Kolson said. “Everybody needs a break away from the academics, and what’s a better way to get together than a little bit of competition and having fun?”

Kindergartener Sophia Pospychala plays a parachute game with her class during Olympic Fun Day at Mars Area Primary Center Thursday in Adams Township. Joseph Ressler/Butler Eagle
Activities for younger kids

At the Mars Area Primary Center, activities organized by the Mars Elementary PTO comprised the Olympic Fun Day festivities.

Parent volunteers gathered together groups of first-graders and kindergartners, dressed in colorful shirts to match the rest of their classrooms, and led them through stations including a parachute game, an obstacle course, a popsicle and water snack station, and the group’s favorite — tug-of-war.

“I’ve never done it before, and I want to try it,” said Harper Hoburg, 6, who was looking forward to tug-of-war.

Kindergartener Olivia Costa helps fill her team’s bucket for a water relay game during Olympic Fun Day at Mars Area Primary Center Thursday in Adams Township. Joseph Ressler/Butler Eagle

“I’m excited to do tug-of-war,” said Celia Stimmel, 6. “It gets you really great exercise.”

Parents didn’t have the chance to volunteer at the Olympic Fun Day last year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, but they returned in full force for the 2022 iteration.

“My daughter is a second-grader, and I have a kindergartner, so I didn’t get to do this yet,” said parent volunteer Angela Howat. “I’m glad I have a kindergartner so I can do this. It’s so fun. You get to watch their teacher interact with them, which is fun.”

Howat’s son, Isaiah, 6, got to participate in the event this year.

“They’re all having fun,” Howat said. “I’m so glad it’s a nice day. This is so fun for them.”

Students cheer on their classmates in a limbo competition during Games and Field Day at Mars Area Middle School Thursday in Adams Township. Joseph Ressler/Butler Eagle