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Nobody makes it out alone; one of the essential tenets we as a school district can teach our students is the value of camaraderie, teamwork, and inclusion. Our city is a community. We believe our students should celebrate each other’s differences, using their capabilities to overcome shared obstacles. 

This principle rings true for the district’s Adapted Physical Education Teacher, Chad Nichols. 

Westridge Elementary has a student with a visual impairment that is a Goalball player, and that student’s team practices at Westridge.

Nichols saw an opportunity to introduce the rest of the 6th-grade students at Westridge to a new sport they’re likely unfamiliar with, so he’s organizing and hosting a 6th-grade Goalball competition. Another of his goals is to let the student’s peers see what one can do with the right opportunities.

Goalball is a sport specifically designed for individuals with visual impairments. It involves two teams of three players who try to score by rolling a ball filled with bells inside the opposing team’s goal.  Defending, blindfolded players defend their goal by listening for the sound of the ball, throwing their bodies in front of said ball to block it from crossing their goal line.

Goalball is a tense sport. The court is silent for players; all one can hear is the strike of player’s heels, the streak of the ball over the court, and the players’ calls. It’s a game that requires a keen awareness of one’s space and senses. Players must have finely tuned motor skills to defend and attack in coordination. It’s a team sport requiring a high degree of team synergy. 

In the same spirit of teamwork, Nichols wanted to involve more than just the 6th-grade students in a PE class at Westridge. Nichols approached the Art teacher at Westridge, Sam Averett, and asked if, as part of their weekly art class, he could help the Westridge 6th-grade students design the t-shirts they would wear for the competition. 

He then approached the Graphics Design teacher at Provo High School, Mark Edwards, asking if Edwards’ students could turn those designs into t-shirts, which students would then print as part of a class assignment.

Both teachers agreed, and as you can see, Averett’s students are bringing a flair to some unique and vibrant designs to build school eagerness for the competition.

The undertaking allows Provo High students to apply their skills through project-based learning by creating a product that’s actually going to see usage. But just as importantly, Westridge students will wear the same t-shirts they designed for the competition– and all of the students will receive a sense of pride by bringing a community event to fruition. It’s an accomplishment worthy of praise.

Chad Nichols, Samuel Averett, and Mark Edwards are teachers who go above and beyond to create inclusive student experiences. They’re involving other students in the game-making process. By working together, they’re making space for a student to play and share information about their chosen sport with their peers, helping those unfamiliar with visual impairments learn more about the life experiences and culture of those with visual impairments.

So far, faculty and students have practiced to prep for the big game! Check out the faculty practice.

make sure you don’t miss the live stream on Provo City School District’s Facebook account, with matches lasting from 8:45 – 12:00 PM and finals at 1:00 PM!

Keep an eye out for future articles and social media posts on the tees, student and faculty practices, and our live stream of the GoalBall tournament from April 10th-14th.

Spencer Tuinei
  • Communication Specialist
  • Spencer Tuinei