Special Olympics Bowling competition held April 29

Annual event held by JMG at Bowl-A-Rama

Source: Cheryl Gifford

The Sanford High School Special Education Department, in partnership with Jobs for Maine’s Graduates (JMG), held their annual Special Olympics Bowling Event Friday, April 29 at Sanford’s Bowl-a-Rama.

This all-day event invites adults and students from neighboring schools across southern Maine to have fun while competing. Participants can also qualify for the Special Olympics state competition. 

“[This event] gives our athletes an opportunity to practice all sorts of functional life skills in the community setting,” said Stephanie Boissoneault, Special Education Teacher at Sanford. “Another great thing is our athletes see other athletes from neighboring schools that they competed against in unified basketball, which is nice for building friendships.”

There were a total of 55 participants, ranging from 14-years-old to 60. The adults were able to come from facilities such as Great Bay Services, Thatcher Brook and Waban. 

“Because the Special Olympics Bowling is for athletes beyond high school as well, some of the athletes are former classmates and students of ours and we get to see them thriving in the community once they have left us, which is incredibly gratifying. Overall, the whole day is just a really positive experience that we are lucky to be a part of!”

Participants received first, second and third place ribbons along with participation ribbons. Sanford High School students took the teen division. Matt Murray and Gabriella Losciuto were their division winners. Additional participants from Sanford include Earl Cormier, Alivian Thompson, and Alex Van Eck. 

Twenty-five JMG students ran the scoreboards and cheered on the participants. JMG teacher Cheryl Gifford said that “Special Olympics Bowling is the JMG students’ favorite event. They love cheering on the athletes and it is inspiring for all involved.” 

“There are so many great aspects to the Special Olympics bowling,” said Boissoneault. “There is something special about the fact that the day is run by the Sanford JMG students and teachers.”

Last year the event was canceled because of COVID, but the event was able to continue this year by wearing masks. Sanford’s Cheryl Gifford, Katie Schindler, and Melinda Williams oversaw the event and did COVID screenings.

The next event is already scheduled for October 21, 2022.

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