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The Olympics come to Oak Park 2021 By Luka Ashton + photos by Haydenn Gallagher

Oak Park has seen a number of traditions come and go through the halls, and this year a new event has been introduced. The first Oak Park Olympics was hosted Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.

“You know, it’s the first time we’ve had everybody back in school, it's the first time that we’ve had teachers back and the community in general so we just wanted to do something just a little bit different, a little bit silly, a little bit fun,” said activities director Chad Valadez.

Koch's Colas sophomores Rachelle Perez, Anissa Mohamed, Isabella Sanchez, Gracie Vieth, Allie Mills, and Rylee Tolar had fun in the sun playing water-pong on the football field. There were taunts from the opposing team, players needed to have a strong focus to win this game.

The Oak Park Olympics held several different activities throughout the day, some including pickle ball on the tennis courts, kickball over on the softball field, karaoke in the little theater and yard games behind the new stadium. AR classes rotated through these activities and more throughout the day as a team to work and complete the game at hand.

Classes had chances to face off against each other at kickball on the baseball field.

“I would say it’s fun. It’s fun to go outside and enjoy the outdoors,” said junior Nicolas Nicastro.

A big aspect of creating this event was bringing the student body who hadn’t been in the building for over a year, or at all, back together.

Senior Karla Simpson gets wrapped up in toilet paper. Four different events were going on in the same space so players had to wrap quickly if they wanted to see them all.

Caption for photo above: Sophomore Aiden Bearden competes against others trying to get the Oreo from his forehead to his mouth. The prize for winning the game was to eat your cookie.

“We’re realizing that you know, having kids not in school is not healthy. We want to be concerned about their physical health, with COVID and everything else, but the mental health side is a really big deal, too. So, I just worry if we don’t continue to try and press on that kids are in a really bad place,” said Valadez.

Many of the activities relied on students working together to achieve the goal, like the breakout boxes held in the main gym.

Sophomore Emma Tran said she enjoyed the breakout boxes the most, “I think it was just the adrenaline of everyone working together and then trying to break out before everyone else.”

Sophomores Adam Campbell, Emma Tran, Cam King, and Oz Vorngsam breakout with a fun team building game in the gym. Their team was one of the first three to break out of their boxes.

This year being the first Olympics leaves some seniors feeling bummed out, as they will only get one.

Sophomore Austin Bull plays pickle-ball on the tennis courts. There was three games going on at once so you have to keep a close eye out. Senior Tray Leeds goes for a return swing. The goal of the return swing is to make sure to hit the opposite and diagonal side of the court.

“I probably would’ve enjoyed doing this my freshman year, so I think that the freshmen this year are pretty lucky to be able to do this kind of thing because we definitely didn’t get to do that,” said senior Kaydence Bozeman.

The day full of activities was meant to wrap up with a closing ceremony, however due to timing issues students took some extra time at the end of the day to rest in their classrooms and freshmen AR classrooms finished decorating their classroom doors.

Juniors Burk Sharpsteen Nik Morales and sophomore Sam Burns fight for the title of Jenga champion. Jenga was one of the many yard games offered at the Oak Park Olympics.

AVID coordinator Amanda Edinger throws bean bags playing corn hole. At about 94 degrees the day was perfect for yard games.

Freshman Fiona Alexander mesmerized the little theater with her account of Titanium by David Guetta during karaoke. A lot of students were shy at first but once they got comfortable there was volunteer after volunteer.