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Gribbin Students Have a Ball with the Rough Riders at Field Day

Gribbin Elementary School students jumped, ran and
skipped through a series of obstacle courses and athletic challenges alongside their physical education
teachers and the stars of the Long Island Rough Riders soccer team during the school’s annual field day celebration.

The warm spring weather provided the perfect backdrop for the festive event as it came back in its entirety, with the soccer stars as partners, for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic. Parents volunteered and watched as students demonstrated the skills they have acquired in physical education classes throughout the year.

“We have relay races, skill-based challenges, soccer lessons and a ton of other fun activities. The kids always enjoy it and the parents are awesome volunteers. It’s definitely a fun and exciting way for the
students to showcase what we’ve taught them all year,” said Andres Sican Orellana, a physical education teacher who helped run the event with physical education teacher Mark Checola.

Mr. Sican Orellana is also a Gribbin alumnus who was a student of Mr. Checola and used to look forward to field day every year. Now, he said, he’s thrilled to run the beloved tradition alongside his former

Some of the day’s events included a relay race using hula hoops as pogo sticks, a 20-yard dash, a basketball free-shooting contest, a soccer ball dribbling relay, a hurdle race, a lacrosse cradle relay and a
beanbag target throw. Another physical education class favorite, led by Mr. Checola, was the rainbow parachute. Students shook the parachute up and down, created a tent out of it and sat inside and turned it into a “popcorn” maker by filling it with balls and flinging them into the air.

“Gribbin’s field day is always a successful event that the kids, parents and staff all enjoy. It gives the students a day of activities in the sun, while helping them engage in healthy exercises. The Rough Riders
are amazing partners and great at getting the kids excited to participate,” said Gribbin Principal Francine Santoro.

The Long Island Rough Riders is a United Soccer League team founded in 1994 and renowned for developing players who’ve gone on to join the US National Team, US Olympic Team and Major League Soccer teams. The Rough Riders also runs a summer camp in July and August for children of all skill levels from ages 5 to 14. To register or find out more, visit

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