Spring Hill elementary students coordinate COVID-19 safe kickball tournament to boost school spirit

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SPRING HILL, KS. — With just over a month left until summer break, fifth graders at Spring Hill Elementary are wrapping up the 2020-2021 school year with a little friendly competition.

On Thursday the class hosted a kickball tournament to blow off steam and boost school spirit.

“We are calling it April Awesomeness now since it’s in April and there’s really no other word for it,” Fifth-grader Diesel Weaver said. “Fifth graders come to play sports. We all have fun and get ready for middle school, because this is our last year of elementary school.”

Teachers say the students took a poll and voted on the game they wanted to play. From there it was up to the class to work together to organize the tournament. 

Fifth-grader Micheal Beck said most of the students spent their recess time prepping for the big event. 

“We are doing a kickball tournament. The fourth graders are cheering us on. We are going to have snacks, music playing. We get to run through fog, just a bunch of cool stuff,” Beck said. “We did a lot of training basically. We practiced a lot of the announcing, doing the fog, DJ, and playing kickball. We had to practice a lot at recess, in the gym.” 

Students choreograph cheer routine during break in the kickball tournament.

The kickball tournament featured performances by student-led dance teams and cheer squads. Students were responsible for organizing snack areas, music and entertainment for the event. 

Jackson McCurdy was one of four students that chose to be a mascot for the event. He said COVID made planning the event tricky, but the class decided to move it outdoors to spread out. 

“It was harder because of COVID-19, because we were going to have it in the gym, but since its all smushed and everything we couldn’t really fit everybody in there,” McCurdy said. 

Spring Hill Elementary student mascots.

Students were in charge of picking team names, setting up practices and figuring out the best way to play the game while following COVID guidelines. 

“With classes, we can’t really get together because each class has to be separate. But we figured out ways where we spread out, but still play together,”Chloe Loveall said. 

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Brooke Evans said the class adjusted how they played the game to cut down on contact.  

“This year it’s kind of hard to do it because of COVID, but we’ve made some changes to make a lot it better,” Brooke Evans said. “Instead of actually hitting people with the ball, we are taking cones and hitting [them] with balls instead, so we don’t spread germs.” 

Gracie Garcia said her favorite part of the day was performing a gymnastic routine with her friends during half-time.

“We’ve been practicing a lot,” Garcia said. 

Peyton Mills said the class started planning the tournament in early January. Mills says her favorite part was inviting the fourth grade class to watch the tournament and cheer them on.

“Having the crowd going crazy and pumping everyone up is one of the best things that can happen for our last year, with COVID we can still do this,” Mills said. 

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