The Harborfields Central School District Athletic Department introduced Unified Bowling this year as an afterschool pilot program for the student body, joining three other Suffolk County schools to participate in the program. Coached by Harborfields High School special education teacher Rhonda Lebit, the students were partnered with volunteer teammates from the high school’s Athletes Helping Athletes program and varsity bowling team.
Unified Sports debuted in 2013 as a partnership between the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and Special Olympics New York. It combines athletes with and without special needs to create inclusive athletic teams for training and competition, serving to break down stereotypes, foster relationships and provide students with leadership roles. Every player is given an opportunity to contribute to the success of their team through their unique skills.
“Our students with special needs were able to represent our school community in a competitive yet fun environment against other schools while partnering with their peers,” Harborfields Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics Rob Franco said. “It was an amazing experience to see our students that might not have an opportunity to participate in a traditional individual or team sport practice, compete and continue to grow each week. Each week, the atmosphere was electric, with all participants cheering each other on. No matter what team they played for, all Unified members cheered and supported each other. It was a lot of fun, and I look forward to growing this program in the future.”
HFUB 03: The Harborfields Central School District Athletic Department introduced Unified Bowling this year.
Photos courtesy of Harborfields Central School District