ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WFRV) – Friday afternoon, Ashwaubenon students from 6th to 12th grade took to Goelz Field to participate in the Jaguar Quad.
“The event I’m looking forward to is the biking, and the one I just did was cornhole,” student Sonja Micuk said.
Over the course of the afternoon, kids enrolled in the district’s special education program and their student mentors participated in running, biking, cornhole, and kickball.
“My favorite part was cornhole, we got to beat the girls, although Connor kept whooping me in this game so yeah, I need to try harder,” Studen Cole Hanson said.
It was an afternoon of friendly competition and exercise.
“I think adrenaline really carries them through,” Kim Treml, Parkview Middle School Special Education Teacher, said. “They are excited for today. They have a buddy that is really cheering them on, so it makes it easy for them.”
The Jaguar Quad is about more than what happens on the field.
“The premise is just to get kids helping kids, and have fun doing it,” Parkview Middle School Special Education teacher Vanessa Talus said.
The Quad was first held five years ago, combining mentorship programs at the middle and high school for a day of fun.
“The students in the classroom with special needs have someone to help guide them along with assignments, and our students without special needs, our peer mentors, they learn what it takes to be a good friend and make sure that they’re including everybody,” Talus said.
Connor Hucek is one of those student mentors.
“I came in freshman year and made bonds with all these kids,” he said.
Now a senior, those bonds have lasted through the high school years, and may impact many years to come.
“I’m thinking of going to school for special education, just because of what an impact they’ve made on my life,” Hucek said.
The mentorship program may have inspired a future career, but right now, the focus is on the day’s activities.
“I thought cornhole was pretty fun, but I’m pretty hyped for me and Cole to win the race,” Hucek said.
Dick’s Sporting Goods sponsors the event, and announced Friday a $10,000 grant to help grow the mentorship program.
“We’re pretty fortunate with Dick’s Sporting Goods to be able to sustain this event now for several years to come,” Ashwaubenon High School teacher Kerry Janquart said.
This is the fourth year for the Jaguar Quad.
The coronavirus pandemic canceled last year’s plans.
“We weren’t supposed to do it last year because of Covid and all that stuff, but hey, it’s fun,” Hanson said.
In a normal year, the quad would include swimming to make it a true triathalon.
Due to coronavirus restrictions, swimming was replaced by cornhole for the 2021 event.