North Schuylkill passes torch to kick off Spartan Games

Mar. 1—North Schuylkill School District provided a special kickoff Wednesday for its fifth edition of the annual Spartan Games.

Students and faculty members transported a decorative torch to Upper Dauphin School District — the first in a series of Olympic-style handoffs between the nearly 20 school districts that will participate in North Schuylkill's event on May 9.

The wooden hand carved torch will be displayed in each school district for about a week before returning to North Schuylkill on May 2, a week before the event.

The Spartan Games is a track and field meet designed for students with disabilities. The event draws hundreds of competitors from across the region for the chance to compete in activities on North Schuylkill's Ghosh Orthodontics Field at Spartan Stadium.

For this year's event, North Schuylkill introduced a new initiative to help bring awareness.

North Schuylkill High School Principal Ken Roseberry said the passing of the torch will help generate interest in advance of the event.

"We wanted to find a way to get all the schools excited," he said. "When you have the torch, that's when you're supposed to get your school excited. ...Talk about it in the building, get the kids excited, do your little video clip to send to us."

On Wednesday morning, a group of students traveled in a school van to deliver the torch to Upper Dauphin, where it will stay before it goes to Williams Valley School District on Tuesday.

After its return to North Schuylkill, the district will create a short video chronicling the torch's journey, which will be released on social media a few days before the event.

The torch will be displayed on North Schuylkill's football field May 9 for the event's opening ceremony.

This year's Spartan Games will include a vertical jump, running and standing long jumps, a Frisbee toss, bocce ball, javelin and tennis ball throwing competitions and 50- and 100-meter races.

Roseberry said the Spartan Games have come a long way since the inaugural event in 2017.

"This school's always been very good at including all of our kids into the different things that we do," Roseberry said. "We're a very inclusive school. Our population of students who have special needs get lots of opportunities. ...

"This is great, and the kids love it. The torch is something that will spruce it up."

Other school districts participating in the Spartan Games this year are Pine Grove Area; Tri-Valley; Shamokin Area; Mount Carmel Area; Southern Columbia Area; Shenandoah Valley; Mahanoy Area; Panther Valley; Tamaqua Area; Blue Mountain; Schuylkill Haven Area; Pottsville Area; Minersville Area; and Saint Clair Area.

Also participating are Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29 and St. Joseph's Center for Special Learning.

Contact the writer:; 570-628-6085