JPS Creates Unified Bocce Ball Team

From left, Jamestown Public Schools Board of Education Vice President Joe Pawelski, and Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker review documents Wednesday. P-J photo by Michael Zabrodsky

Creation of one sports team as well as an update on two others were approved by the Jamestown Public Schools Board of Education.

According to the resolution presented to board members, a Unified Bocce Ball team was created to promote social inclusion through intentionally planned activities with sports as a foundation. Students with disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in, and feel a part of, all activities, opportunities, and functions.

Dr. Kevin Whitaker, superintendent, said four groups really benefit from the formation of a unified team: the players, the parents, the spectators, and the coaches.

“They’re coming as fans,” Whitaker said of the parents. “They’re getting a chance to see their kids participate in athletics and enjoy themselves immensely.”

Board member John Panebianco was very happy the team was created.

“I am just really glad to see this at the board meeting. I love bocce and I love the fact that all students can participate. That’s awesome,” Panebianco said.

Whitaker noted that the unified basketball and bowling teams have been very successful.

The bocce ball team will begin for the 2024-2025 school, but a bocce ball court site is still undetermined.

The costs associated with the bocce ball team are the head coach, who is scheduled to receive $2,159, and the assistant coach to receive $1,273.

The board also approved the continuation of the merger of the boys and girls varsity swim teams for the 2024-25 school year. The boys team is currently merged with the Frewsburg Central School District, the Southwestern Central School DIstrict, and the Falconer Central School District. The girls team is currently merged with SWCS.

An extracurricular club entitled e-Sports Club also was approved effective April 1 and an adviser stipend of $1,500 per season for each team.

Whitaker said it has started as a club that plays against other JPS teams, and then may play against other districts.

“First, our own middle schools would play each other. And then as it (the club) expands, we would get into leagues and we would have meets. … And then ultimately, maybe a sectional turn,” Whitaker said.


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