‘Fueling the fun’: Adapted PE gives all students an opportunity for sports

All four Federal Way high schools attended the inter-city track and field day on May 25.

Decatur High School hosted the first functional core track and field day on May 25. It was an action-packed day where students who take part in Adapted Physical Education had a chance to participate in an inter-city track meet.

All four Federal Way high schools participated in the event that was spearheaded by Thomas Jefferson’s Adapted Physical Education Teacher Chris Williams, according to Molly Roohi, Todd Beamer’s APE teacher.

Over 40 student-athletes participated and even got a little competitive at points — which is something the teachers weren’t promoting but welcomed throughout the day. All four teachers helping put on the field day work closely with one another out of necessity.

“We meet at least once a week. We’re in conversation all the time. Where there are ideas for IEP goals or I have a kid who you’re gonna have here is some help. We’re making an effort to have linear units so that we’re helping each other,” Roohi said.

The student-athletes got to participate in a multitude of events including 50-meter hurdles, 50-meter dash, shot put, javelin, long jump and a bicycle session.

At some Federal Way middle schools and high schools, an adaptive bicycle day allows students to ride bicycles around. The last time that occurred was pre-pandemic, so for many of these kids, this is their first time getting outside and doing athletics.

“We decided let’s do track and field and that’s what we have tried to do,” Roohi said.

Seeing the students interact with each other is special, Roohi said, and it helped bring other students out of their shells.

“It’s all going much better than we thought. At school, they’re sometimes a little scared to do something like the long jump. But having all the kids around helps. For example, us Todd Beamer kids are seeing other kids do these things that we’ve done in isolation. I think it’s only helping and fueling the fun,” Roohi said.

Parents have also responded positively to the event that Roohi and other teachers put on. “Since the track and field aspect is new and some parents thought their kids were going to be thrown into a competition. But after some reassurance, we let them know we love your kids and have their best interests at heart,” said Roohi.

But at the end of the day, it’s all about the kids having fun, she said.

“It’s pretty cool because a lot of them have crossed paths before going to similar schools when they were little. So it’s amazing to see them now. … I love that everyone can feel included in something like this and have it mean something to them in their own way,” Roohi said.

Decatur had two participants in the state championship track meet; Jalen Black came in sixth in the 100-meter and fifth in the 200-meter run.

Photo Provided by FWPS

Photo Provided by FWPS