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Championing Inclusion: Medford league basketball

In honor of Disability Awareness Month, the Arrowhead is shining a light on one of our schools’ sports teams, the Medford League basketball team.

The Medford basketball games are a yearly tradition that everyone in the school looks forward to. If you don’t know what the Medford League basketball games are, they are games where students with physical and/or intellectual disabilities get a chance to play other students with disabilities in the surrounding areas.

This was started by Chesterfield schools in the 1970s. It’s goal is to give disabled students a chance to participate in sports. All of PHS rallies together to come out and support the Medford League all throughout March. The school has spirit days and themes, such as pinkout.

So much goes into this making these games happen. We sat down with Sara Meade, one of the Special Education teachers here at PHS, to hear just how much goes into the Medford games and why they are so important for everyone in the school.

The students start practicing in adaptive PE with Ms. Foos and their peer buddies after Thanksgiving. Ms. Meade works with administration and other Medford coaches to plan out the season.  She says, “We have to work with the administration to ensure that classes can come cheer us on! Personally, I attend the Medford organizational meeting that is held by Mr. Randy Early, the coach at James River High School. Once a schedule is established, I have to send notifications to our school leaders and request transportation to our away games.”

Peer buddies are general education students who help and hang out with the special education students in both adapted PE and art. They are given jobs such as referee, time keeper, score keeper and announcers during the home Medford games. Peer buddies also travel to away games with the team.

So many kids want to be a peer buddy that there are many students who don’t even end up being in the class. When asked how she feels about this Ms. Meade says, “It is a great feeling! It is a wonderful problem to have. To me, kindness is the most important rule in life and our group of helpers embrace kindness with their whole hearts.”

The Medford League highlights abilities as opposed to disabilities. It shows that no matter your specific challenge, whether it is physical or social, a communication or intellectual disability…we all have gifts to offer.

— Ms. Meade

The Medford League is very important for both special and general education students. Ms. Meade says, “I have always said, Medford Games and our adaptive PE and art classes are almost more beneficial for general education peers as they help teach compassion, patience, understanding and a respect for different learning styles.”

It is also so amazing and important for the special education students, too. It unites our school together and makes the players feel included and seen. “It truly makes our students feel like a part of our school community.” The Medford League is coming to an end for this school year, but we can’t wait to see them play again next year.

 

 

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About the Contributor
Addie Joyce
Addie Joyce, Contributor
Addie Joyce is a Junior at Powhatan High School. This is her first year in Journalism. In her free time she enjoys reading, listening to music, shopping, and hanging out with friends. Addie believes the news is important because everyone needs to know what is happening in the world and everyone should be as informed as they can be. Her special skills are communication and creativity.

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