OXFORD — The 2014 Sochi Olympic games may have concluded Sunday, but Olympic fever is still running high at the Oxford Elementary School.
Closing ceremonies and events, including relay races and an obstacle course, at the Oxford Elementary School Olympic Games were delayed on Feb. 14, when a winter snowstorm canceled the last day of school before winter break.
They will now be held on Feb. 28, said fourth-grade teacher and Oxford Olympic Committee member Melissa Guerrette.
The games are an opportunity for the students to learn about various countries and the history of the Olympics, Guerrette said.
“We see this as an opportunity to highlight our students’ excitement about learning while instilling in students the central themes of the Olympics: unity, tolerance and sportsmanship,” Guerrette said.
Students in pre-kindergarten through grade 6 have been learning about the history and long-standing traditions of the Olympics. They explored the cultures and characteristics of the countries they are representing during the events, Guerrette said.
Despite the temporary glitch in schedules, Guerrette said the opening day ceremonies on Feb. 7 went off without a hitch.
A highlight of the ceremonies was the lighting of the cauldron by sixth-grade student Nathan Plourde. Plourde “lit” the cauldron in the school gymnasium with the smaller Olympic torch made from a touch light that had been relayed from classroom to classroom in the days leading up to the opening ceremony, Guerrette said.
“Each classroom had the torch for half a day, in which they talked about the symbolism and tradition,” she said.
Plourde said the honor of lighting the cauldron was by chance.
“Mrs. (Sandra) Roderick, my teacher, was asking for volunteers,” said Plourde, who played the role of Russian President Vladimir Putin. “No one else wanted to do it. So I volunteered.”
In that role, Plourde also had to learn facts about “his” country and present information about Russia to the other students.
“Well, what shocked me most was it how big it (Russia) was,” said Plourde of the Russian Federation, which covers 6,592,800 square miles.
The opening day ceremonies also included a skit presented by students in Catherine Judkin’s second-grade class, who were representing Greece. The skit was a story about Prometheus, who in Greek mythology is credited with creating mankind out of clay and then defying the gods by giving fire to them.
Guerrette said additional activities involving winter sports were held for students and their families throughout vacation week. They included ice skating at the Oxford community rink and snowshoeing.
This was the third Olympics the school has held. The first was held in 2006, then another in 2010.