APPLETON (NBC 26) — The Appleton Area School District (AASD) is making strides towards inclusivity by joining the Fox Valley Adapted Sports League.
According to John Miller, Activities Director at Appleton West, the program has been a long time coming.
“It creates another opportunity for students to be connected to our school, to their peers," said Miller.
Miller has seen the success and positive impact of similar initiatives in other schools, highlighting how they have enriched both the school environment and the community.
Beginning this fall, AASD high schools will introduce indoor soccer, indoor floor hockey, and indoor wiffle ball as part of the adaptive sports league.
Amy Steiner, AASD Special Education Director, says the benefits extend beyond the disabled students themselves. The program will require peer helpers, providing an opportunity for non-disabled students to take part.
“Students who are not disabled to interact with, understand, and see the benefit of and the wonderful attributes students with disabilities bring," said Steiner.
Stacey Wickershiem, AASD Adapted Physical Education Leader and a parent, speaks passionately about the impact of watching her own children excel in their activities.
“You get to see them be the best you know they can be and everybody else gets to see it… but in an environment, where they can do their thing and shine," Wickersham said.
The inclusive program also aims to create a sense of belonging and pride among all students.
“There's something to be said about wearing your school jersey, that sense of pride, that sense of belonging in a community that I think we can’t put a value on," added Wickersham.
As the Appleton Area School District takes this step towards inclusivity, they encourage all students to seize this opportunity to be part of a team that values diversity and unity.
To sign up as an athlete or a peer helper, visit the Appleton Area School District website.