Haverhill’s TEACH Students Participate for the First Time in Special Olympics

Among TEACH students participating are Finn Manser, Ava Thompkins, Jose German and Elias Lebron. (Courtesy photograph.)

Thirty-five students from Haverhill Public Schools’ TEACH program are participating for the first time today at the Special Olympics games at Lawrence High School’s Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The students enrolled in the Therapeutic Education Assessment Center of Haverhill at St. James School—TEACH for short—will compete against athletes from around the Merrimack Valley in running and walking events, tennis ball toss and other track and field games.

“All the kids and the teachers and our parents are talking about it and are very much looking forward to it,” TEACH Director Lyn A. Snow said.

The TEACH program is a separate day school program that provides students with individualized, skill-based educational experiences and tailored behavioral support plans.

Special Olympics events are for all ability levels and ages 8 and up, Snow said. Younger TEACH students join their classmates as spectators at the event, she said.

“It’s a great team-building activity and experience,” said Snow, who is in her first year with Haverhill Public Schools. “I’ve been going to Special Olympics for about 20 years, my first one was at Harvard Stadium. They have events that you would see at a typical track and field meet. Long jump, broad jump, relay races.”

The TEACH program, currently located at St. James School, is designed to give students the skills they need to achieve independence through the development of social communication, academic, functional, life and vocational skills, and to effectively communicate their educational and social needs. The curriculum includes exposure to the arts, vocational training and a strategic learning approach.

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