Moshannon Valley students are proving that it doesn’t take fancy equipment or a standout athlete to make a successful team. “It actually started out in the hallway,” laughs 10th grader, Austin Beirliar.
The bocce team is in their startup season. It began shortly after principal Kris Albright pushed to integrate into the district just a few months ago. “We’re becoming more inclusive with our student populations. trying to find ways to give students more of a way to participate,” says Albright.
Like many students, Beirliar, never heard of the sport, “I didn’t know what bocce was until I researched it myself and seen that it was related to curling so I got into it.”
However, this team is much more than what meets the eye. It is a partnered program between the PIAA and the Special Olympics. It allows students with special needs a spot on the team. Tenth grader Owen Burton knew he had to sign up. “Kicking off a new trend for the school? Pretty cool,” adds Burton.
Beirliar says they’re are able to work with others to perfect their skills. “A lot of kids don’t include them. being able to include them really it shows the teamwork that a team should have,” adds the teammate.
Albright says it’s giving students with disabilities a way to get integrated with athletics in a way they have never have before. “I think it works tolerance I think it works to build empathy I think it works to build positive relationships and collaboration,” says Albright. “I could see this whole team going forward. If they really put their mind to it, they can do it,” adds Beirliar.
The team is preparing for their first game against Bald Eagle, but not without a scrimmage against the administration first.