Career Skills Bowl, Bake, Craft, and Write to Veterans

This year Brewster High School took on a twist for Special Olympics. Instead of traditional Special Olympics where the athletes compete by themselves in various sports, such as basketball and track and field, we joined a program called the Unified Champion Schools, which is sponsored by Special Olympics and NYSPHAA (New York State Athletic Association). This program calls upon the member schools to create an inclusive environment for not only sports, but also other events so that students with intellectual disabilities feel as if they are part of the school culture. The premise is to do Unified Sports and to develop a Youth Activity Committee that is responsible for creating events that encourage inclusivity, which is in the process of being formed and should be up and running next spring.
In the beginning stages of this year, BHS was able to field a unified bowling team that consisted of 13 athletes with intellectual disabilities and 7 partners without intellectual disabilities. The team went to Spins Bowling in Carmel two days a week for four weeks and competed as a unified team against groups from Arlington, Wappingers, Monroe-Woodbury, Cornwall, Kingston, and New Paltz. While students competed virtually this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, a typical season means we would travel to other school’s bowling alleys and compete live.
The Unified team consisted of three athletes and two partners. Their scores for two games were calculated based on the number of pins knocked down. At the end of our first season, Brewster took home first place! We received a plaque, which is downstairs in our trophy case, and each athlete and partner received a medal, pin, varsity letter, and certificate acknowledging participation. Next up is unified basketball in April. Brewster plans on fielding a team of three athletes and two partners, again working together on the court. This event will be live, with the athletes traveling to other schools as well as having home games, so we hope we see some of you in the stands cheering us on. If you’re interested in becoming a partner, contact Coach Schneider and get some more information.
The Career Skills Class also had a special visit from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit on December 17th. Officer Nappi along with Flash came to pick up homemade dog biscuits that the class baked for the K-9 Unit for the holidays. It was such a great surprise!
Finally, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney hosted an annual “Valentines for Veterans” program. The program asks schools and other organizations to create Valentine’s Day greeting cards that will be distributed to local veterans. Many veterans have been separated from families and friends due to the pandemic, and a simple greeting will go a long way. The Career Skills Class made special Valentine’s Day cards and crafts and donated them to the veterans to let them know they are appreciated and to thank them for their service.