2017-02-02 / Schools

Intramural sports for special athletes a popular draw

By Patricia Roy


Above: Basketball team members from sixth grade through high school and post graduate years. Above: Basketball team members from sixth grade through high school and post graduate years. RUTLAND – It’s a Monday afternoon and the sounds of a basketball game in full swing roll out of the gym at Glenwood Elementary School. Sneakers squeak on the court floor, coaches call out to players and fans applaud, all punctuated by the dribbled beat of a basketball against hardwood.

This is a new intramural program designed for students with disabilities in the Wachusett Regional School District. It serves kids from preschool through the post-graduate years.

The program, a first of its kind for the district, was driven by Brenda Ducasse of Rutland, mom to 8-year-old David, a special needs student at Glenwood School and a sports lover who goes for hockey, basketball and football.

“My son plays in Rutland town sports like Little League, but this year I figured he needed to do something with the special education program,” she said.


Left: David Ducasse, a sports-loving 8-year-old, was the impetus behind starting the intramural sports program for preschoolers through post-graduate students with disabilities in the Wachusett Regional School District. 
Patricia Roy photos Left: David Ducasse, a sports-loving 8-year-old, was the impetus behind starting the intramural sports program for preschoolers through post-graduate students with disabilities in the Wachusett Regional School District. Patricia Roy photos Ducasse emailed Kimberly Merrick, special education administrator, asking what was available for these students. It turns out there weren’t any after school sports in place, but Merrick was enthusiastic about the idea.

The pair emailed parents of special need students to see if they’d be interested and received over 50 positive replies.

The eight week program kicked off with a drill session before moving on to full court games. It is supported by phys ed teachers from the high school, district administrators and the special education department secretary, Merrick said. The crew is rounded out by volunteers from Wachusett Regional High School’s Mountaineer Peers program.

The winter session started in January and runs eight weeks. It was originally going to include floor hockey also, but snow days and a holiday forced a change in those plans. A spring session will most likely include soccer as well as track and field events, Ducasse said.

Like any intramural program, play is friendly, but the players, decked out in blue and yellow scrimmage vests, are making a serious effort on the court.

“I think they love it. They’re playing, I can see the smiles on their faces,” Ducasse said.

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