For Pines Bridge Students, Olympics Offered Lessons about Sports – and Perseverance



February 28, 2018

Much like Olympic athletes, students in Lisa Giacomini-Essell’s class at the Pines Bridge School at the PNWBOCES campus in Yorktown know all about facing inordinate challenges – and the role that hard work and perseverance can play in meeting them. Unlike the Olympians, however, the students largely knew nothing about hockey, snowboarding or ice skating.
 
That changed this month when Giacomini-Essell used the Olympics as a fun way for students to learn more about winter sports. During class, she taught the students about the Olympics, its history and the current events that surround them. She also used the Olympics to tie in lessons about success and failure, and importance of determination over a long period.
   
Giacomini-Essell said she wanted to make her students familiar with the winter games and provide an opportunity for them to watch events with their families over the break. As homework, students were asked to answer five questions about one sport and, with the help of their families, create posters to bring to class.
Before presenting on their sports earlier this month, however, the students first got a taste of the ceremonies linked to the Olympics. With a big smile on his face, student Luke Geocos wheeled across the room holding a torch that he then passed to his classmates. Then, Ryan Gotto kicked off the presentations with information about ice hockey.
  
Using their posters and assistive communication devices, other students then shared information about bobsledding, snowboarding, alpine skiing, curling and luge.
 
At the end of the presentations, there was another surprise ceremony.

“In the Olympics, not every athlete is a winner and comes home with a medal,” Giacomini-Essell told her students as she hung medals around their necks, “but in Pines Bridge, in this class, you are all medal winners!”

Student Chris Tavares said that, before the assignment, "I never heard of some of these sports before.  I didn't know they existed.”

The assignment even turned a couple of students into sports fans. Ryan Gotto’s mother Christy said the assignment was a fun project for her family.

 "Ryan had fun researching and working on his project. He is now officially a hockey fan!” she said.

Luke Geocos carries Olympic torch