Students Team Up Through Unified Sports

Mallory Graybeal and Bria Dawson

KSHSAA partnered with Special Olympics in May 2021 to encourage and develop Unified Bowling within Kansas and the Olathe School District. Unified Bowling is a bowling team made up of both individuals with intellectual disabilities and peers without. Olathe North’s team is coached by James Estes and Colleen Farthing.

“The peers help encourage and coach them along as they play,” Farthing said. “They are a major asset to the sport and allow the students to experience more than they would in just competing against each other.”

Estes also commented on the relationship between the peers and the bowlers.

“I like how much each bowler is willing to help each other out and listen to their peers offering advice,” Estes said.

The team was the KSHSAA Regional runner-up and qualified to participate in the Inaugural Unified Bowling State Tournament.

“Everyone on the team has made a strike at some point during the season,” said Farthing. “Watching

the surprise and joy on their faces when they realize it is heartwarming.”

Estes also commented on the excitement of the team when they were successful.

“I’ve enjoyed watching the team pick each other up when they are struggling and how excited they get when they succeed,” Estes said.