East Bay Regional Park’s Fishing Derby was a Great Catch

On October 17th, special education students in Ms. Stilwell’s class and SHAPE students went to the fishing derby at Quarry Lakes, hosted by East Bay Regional Park. For the last 13 years, special-education students have enjoyed participating in the fishing competition as well as the extra activities available to attendees

The fishing derby was held during school from around 8:00 in the morning until around 1:30 PM. The main event was the fishing competition the fish in a net stocked the night before by East Bay Regional Park officials  were released into the lake in a particular area accessible to the students. If students cast out their fishing poles and caught trout, they clean the fish and could be taken home by the students to eat. 

When the Irvington students were not fishing, they were paired up with the special-ed kids from different elementary schools to enjoy a variety of activities such as face painting, playing with the bubbles, and ball games. To help manage all these events, Irvington itself sent many volunteers from SHAPE classes to help out at the event. The volunteers helped with clean up and set-up and also assisted the kids with fishing if they were having difficulty. 

In addition to volunteers from Irvington and East Bay Regional Park, the Lion’s club also helped out at the event. Not only do they help clean the fish that kids catch, but they hold a fundraiser selling pancakes in order to raise money for all the activities at the derby. Since these fundraisers are especially effective, they hope to add more activities in coming years. 

The experience proved to be a memorable one for the kids who had never tried fishing before. Ms. Stone, an Irvington sports director that attended the derby with her students, always receives a positive response for holding the event. 

“[The kids] enjoyed the experience very much so,” Stone said. “Some years I’ve gotten pictures of thank you’s from elementary teachers, the kids really love it.”

Despite such a positive response, it has taken years for the fishing derby to bring in attendees and offer quality activities. Currently, the event has about 175 students, not including volunteers, teachers, and parents, showing up. The event has generated such momentum that even parents and younger kids from elementary and middle schools in Fremont would also like to attend the event in coming years.

The fishing derby is a very enjoyable event that Irvington participates in. Irvington’s special education classes will continue to participate in the fishing derby because it continues to grow, is educational, and overall remains a great experience for many different Irvington students.