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Five St. Bonaventure education students took a conference presentation to a new level by having high school students demonstrate a unified basketball game in action at the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Conference.
The college students, all sport studies or physical education majors at St. Bonaventure, collaborated with
Special Olympics of New York (SONY) and the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) at the conference, which was held Nov. 16 in Verona, N.Y.
Participating were Trisha Carney, ’18; Connor Selvaggi-Moore, ’17; PJ Neubauer, ’19; Abigail Lagoner, ’19; and Kerry McCarthy, ’19; all officers in the campus Physical Activities Club, said Dr. Paula Scraba, associate professor of physical education.
During their presentation, “Athletes First — Connect and Grow through Unified Sports,” the Amsterdam High School unified basketball team demonstrated firsthand the benefits of unified sports through competitive sports.
The St. Bonaventure students, who are trained in event management by Special Olympics, set up the event exhibition hall at the conference center for the basketball competition. The physical education teachers and coaches in attendance learned how their school districts can connect and grow through unified sports. Unified sports training is available for free through the National Federation of High Schools. In unified sports, teams are made up of people of similar age and ability, partnering people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team.
“Unified sports is a program that has opened the door for so many athletes who otherwise may not qualify or be accepted by their peers to participate in a sporting environment,” said Scraba.
During the basketball game, a question-and-answer session was conducted by Bill Collins, director of Sports Training for SONY; Todd Nelson, president of NYSPHSAA; and Amsterdam coach Jessica Byerwalters.
Scraba praised the college students, who did everything from assembling two portable basketball hoops to taping a court on the exhibition floor and then officiating at the basketball game.
“These dedicated Bonnies truly demonstrated how extraordinary our students are,” Scraba said.
In addition to their presentation, the St. Bonaventure students participated in a Follow the Leader networking session for future professionals.
St. Bonaventure University will once again partner with Special Olympics New York and area school districts for the annual Special Olympics Unified Basketball Competition at the university on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #5 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition.
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