On Saturday, February 9, elementary school English Learners in Milford School District competed in the ELympics District Finals at Lulu M. Ross Elementary School. Participants were in grades one through five and all were students for whom English is a second language.
Casey Cashdollar, ELL teacher at Lulu Ross, is one of the many volunteers that helped to facilitate the event this year. The school was packed with families excited to see their child’s progress in the English language. “The competition gives our students a chance to show off their bilingual skills at an academic level,” said Cashdollar. “[The Event] gets them excited about learning and lets them realize all that they have accomplished. It also shows them that if they study and put in the effort, they can succeed.
Throughout the day, students competed in events that included areas such as Spelling, Social Studies, Math, Impromptu Speaking, Story Ordering, Science and Fluency. There were performances by Drums Around the World, Shekinah and Milford Folkloric Ballet as well as vendors including Delaware Humanities Council, La Esperanza, La Red Health Center, Milford Public Library, Parents and Teachers and Polytech Adult Education. Milford School District administration and staff presented awards to students at the end of the competition and were accompanied by special guest Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long.
Delaware Secretary of Education Susan Bunting was at the event, supporting ELS students and their families. “This is an opportunity for kids to celebrate learning. If you could see the face of their parents while they watch their children compete,” said Bunting. “These students come to school not knowing english and this gives them a chance to show off their progress. It is truly something to celebrate. This event really connects these families to our schools and encourages parent engagement, which is so important to student success.”
Milford School District Elympics was established in order to provide these particular students an opportunity to showcase their English and academic skills in a way that is both challenging and exciting. Danille Brumbly, a judge and Special Needs teacher at Lulu Ross, was impressed with the progress made by these elementary students. “This gives our ELL population a chance to shine. Their families have a lot of pride seeing their student doing so well.”
Parents like Sepcia Davis see this competition as a way for their children to find enjoyment in learning a second language. “[My kids] are excited. I am so proud, especially for my daughter to see her improve herself and do good things,” said Davis. “The competition drives them to work harder and have fun.”
Students from Lulu Ross Elementary won the most medals, earning them the overall trophy for the second year in a row.