Penn Manor is providing a new opportunity for its special education students to participate in interscholastic sports.
A Unified Bocce program has been added for the winter athletic season to complement the spring Unified Track & Field program that has been available since 2018.
Teams of eight students – four special education students and four partners – will compete in bocce.
The game is played by rolling a small ball called a pallina into a 12-foot by 60-foot court. Players earn points by rolling a larger bocce ball – four per team – as close to the pallina as possible.
“We had our first practice last week, and the kids are loving it,” said Kyle Lainhoff, a special education teacher who serves as a coach, along with Sarah Stover, a high school math teacher.
Penn Manor will compete against teams from Manheim Township, Solanco, Ephrata and Columbia High Schools. The season begins December 20 with a match at Manheim Township.
Unified Bocce is sponsored by the Special Olympics, which provided PVC piping for the court, gel-filled balls, team uniforms and a $1,000 coaching stipend to each team.
Penn Manor’s team has been practicing in the STEM wing of the high school. Meets, comprised of the best of five matches, will be held in the high school gym.
Four meets will be held this season, including home contests January 16 against Ephrata and February 6 against Columbia.
Many thanks to all who are making this new opportunity possible for our students.