By Donovan Berthoud/Herald
Team Andree gave it their all in the tug-of-war event.
The Kennedy High School student government’s newest event featured more than 80 faculty members stuffing marshmallows in their mouths, running around a row of chairs in the gymnasium and more –– all for a good cause.
The student government sponsored the school’s first Faculty Olympics last Thursday, which involved teachers, administrators, secretaries and custodians in honoring one of their own –– Ellen Sheldon.
Haliie Katz, the student government spirit coordinator, said that Sheldon, a Kennedy special-education teacher from Merrick, died in February. Sheldon, who co-taught English and social studies as part of the school’s collaborative program, also served as a faculty adviser to class governments for several years.
Planning for the Faculty Olympics began before Sheldon’s death, but the student government decided to honor Sheldon by donating all funds raised from T-shirt and ticket sales –– $2,3000 –– to the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, said Vice President Emily Silverman.
“She was a very well-liked and respected teacher at our school,” Silverman said. “A lot of people looked up to her.”
Silverman, Katz, Corresponding Secretary Jessica Bendix and President Brandon Simon agreed that the cause encouraged many faculty members to participate in the Faculty Olympics. Sheldon’s husband, John, and sons attended and thanked organizers for honoring her. Several students also spoke about how Sheldon influenced them to do well in school.
More than 250 students came out to watch their teachers compete in physical and mental challenges. Simon said the idea for the event was inspired by Class Night, which has similar contests, only for students.
“We’ve done ‘Dancing with the Teachers’ in the past, and people have enjoyed that,” he said. “We thought it would be funny to watch the teachers battle against each other the way the students do.”
Four teams, each with its own color and student-filled cheering section, competed in the eight events. Physical challenges included a relay race, dodge ball and musical chairs. Others –– like “Are you smarter than an AP student?” –– challenged teachers mentally.