Robin, Special Education Instructor at St. Joseph’s Indian School, is greeted briefly before Jesse looks behind her, searching for someone else.
“Where is he? Where is my friend?” he wants to know. Jesse is a Special Olympics bowler and Tayvin, an eighth grader at St. Joseph’s Indian School, assisted him during the Special Olympics bowling season.
St. Joseph’s National Honors Society students recently spent several weeks attending bowling events with Chamberlain’s Special Olympic Bowlers, the Missouri River Mudcats.
“St. Joseph’s students were amazing help this year,” said Holly, coach of the Missouri River Mudcats.
“It was great getting to know the kids!” she said. “They were all so polite and willing to lend a hand. I think my favorite part of working with these students was watching their confidence and independence build as volunteers. By the end of the bowling season, each one of the kids had a bowler they had grown close to. They looked forward to helping each week, and I know the athletes looked forward to seeing the students just as much.”
The Missouri River Mudcats had 19 bowlers this year, paired with 11 St. Joseph’s National Honors Society students.
Robin and Annie, advisors for St. Joseph’s National Honors Society, worked with Holly to develop the partnership.
“We aim to do one service project each month,” said Robin. “We first met with bowlers in September, over pizza, to give everyone an opportunity to get to know one another. From there, things just took off. Everyone learned how to work together very quickly, respecting different needs and behaviors, and friendships grew.”
St. Joseph’s students assisted the bowlers by taking their bowling ball to the ramp, helping the bowler to the lane if needed, keeping score and, of course, lots of cheering!
“This was a wonderful opportunity,” said Robin. “Our students were able to learn about people they might not get to know in everyday situations and form some great friendships.”
“We appreciated St. Joseph’s National Honors Society students so much,” Holly said. “Our season was filled with lots of smiles and new friendships because of them we hope to have them back next year!”
In order for St. Joseph’s students to be recommended for nomination to the National Honors Society they must have a GPA of 3.0 or above, as well as completing a packet of information about service, leadership, responsibility and extra-curricular activities. There are 13 students in grades 4-8 who have earned this distinction.