Flanders Elementary School in Southington holds Winter Olympics opening ceremony

SOUTHINGTON — Once the paper Olympic torch had been placed in the basketball hoop in the Flanders School gym, the school’s edition of the 2018 Winter Olympics was underway.

On Thursday, Flanders students held the flags of competing nations and raced in their own versions of bobsledding and speedskating in the school’s own opening ceremony.

“They’re getting a little history while doing P.E.,” said Diane Cavaliere, a physical education teacher at Flanders and host of the event.

Cavaliere said students prepared for a month by choosing a country and learning about it in their classes.

Once all the nations had been welcomed and the torch was perched, Cavaliere got the activities started by having three staff members pile into a makeshift bobsled of mats on wheels and pushed them around the gym as the students cheered and held up their flags and banners.

Once they had their fun, the students swarmed the mats and raced the two bobsleds across the gymnasium. They also got to take part in “speedskating” by sliding around the floor on paper plates.

“I’ve always been an Olympics fan,” Cavaliere said. Before the torch was brought in, she showed a video by Tucker West, of Ridgefield, a luge competitor in the 2014 Olympics and this year’s edition of the games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

West spoke about hard work, family and his passion for competition. He said his father helped him build his own race track to practice on when he was younger.

“Maybe Tucker’s story will inspire you,” Cavaliere told students when the video ended.

Students also learned about the food, history and culture of the countries they represented.

Lauren Kellnhauser had her brother join her classroom through a video stream to teach her students about Ecuador, where he lives. Her class represented the South American country Thursday.

“It was really special for me to be able to share that connection with my students,” she said.

She believes those lessons will give the students a greater appreciation for the global community. She printed out the country’s coat of arms before she left and cut it into puzzle pieces her students colored and put back together.

“I think it’s a great experience for the kids,” Kellnhauser said.


More From This Section