Athletes from Harwood Best Buddies represented Harwood at the Special Olympics Unified Sports® bowling competition on December 17, 2018. Clockwise from top left: River Ploof, Caelyn McDonough, Melanie Wollschlager, Josh Wollschlager, Max Chapin, Destiny Mason, Chloe Lavigne and Chris Riley. Photo credit: Chloe Lavigne

On Monday, December 17, eight members of the Harwood Best Buddies club represented the school at the annual statewide Unified Bowling competition at Twin City Lanes in Barre. Special Olympics Unified Sports is a program that provides students with and without intellectual disabilities opportunities to participate in different sports alongside one another. Harwood athletes joined more than 70 other athletes representing five Vermont schools in the Division One group.

The Harwood team of River Ploof, Melanie and Josh Wollschlager, and Max Chapin collectively earned a bronze medal, while the team of Chris Riley, Destiny Mason, Caelyn McDonough and Chloe Lavigne bowled their way to an honorable mention. Both teams earned Harwood Unified Sports participation medals. Harwood Union High School athletes have participated in Special Olympics Unified Sports for more than 20 years.

Best Buddies is an international nonprofit volunteer program that promotes friendship between students with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities. Harwood hosts the only high school Best Buddies chapter in Vermont. In the past, many individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities have had little opportunity to develop friendships outside of special education programs. Members of Harwood Best Buddies work to nurture an atmosphere of inclusion and acceptance, while making a positive impact at school and in the wider community.

For more information, contact Harwood Best Buddies faculty advisers Alison Watt (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Jeff Ogden (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).