BAINBRIDGE TOWNSHIP – Looking at 10-year-old Sydney Corcoran in her fourth-grade classroom at Kenston Intermediate School, you'd never know she has ataxia, a nervous system disorder that affects her balance and coordination.
“I feel like her classmates are her biggest support system,” her teacher, Tracie Frajter, said.
But, as Sydney joined her classmates for the school’s "Field Day" on Wednesday, her mother, Jessie, was worried.
“I didn't want her to feel left out, or be the last person, or struggle,” Jessie Corcoran said.
However, Sydney was far from left out.
As she finished the last leg of a bunny hop relay that involved hopping with a ball between her legs, her classmates started chanting, “let’s go Sydney!”
With their encouragement, Sydney crossed the finish line. Her classmates cheered.
“It made me feel really, really happy,” she said.
Her best friend was among those cheering Sydney on.
“She deserves to be cheered on, she's amazing,” Kara Mustin said. “She was actually doing something that nobody knew that she could do, and she was actually making it, and that made everyone so proud of her.”
Frajter said the school focuses on building community and creating a culture of support and inclusion throughout the school year.
“I was proud, I was proud of my kids, I was proud of all the fourth grade for supporting her,” Frajter said.
Jessie Corcoran said she was brought to tears when she saw video of what happened.
“I'm glad I was alone because the tears were flowing, tears of joy, though,” she said. “It was just a dream come true that she has this support, and it's everything we ever wanted for her.”