Nov. 2, 2022 - Approximately 180 special education students participated in Comal ISD’s 15th annual Specialized Training and Recreation (STAR) Bowling Tournaments recently at Fiesta Lanes Bowling Center in New Braunfels.
The high school tournament took place Friday, Oct. 21, with 100 participants representing their campuses including Canyon High, Canyon Lake High, Davenport High, Pieper High and Smithson Valley High.
The middle school tournament took place on Monday, Oct. 31, with 80 participants representing Canyon Middle, Church Hill Middle, Danville Middle, Mountain Valley Middle, Pieper Ranch Middle and Spring Branch Middle.
“This is a great opportunity for our students to work on a recreational activity that goes beyond just the classroom,” says Monica Bowman, physical therapist and Comal ISD special education motor team lead. “STAR bowling gives them functional skills which they can use in the community, and it offers a great opportunity to socialize with other students from across the district.”
The district has seen an increase in participation in STAR events including bowling over the years. At one time, the middle and high school athletes competed on the same day, but as the district has grown, so has the program and opportunities which are offered. This year, the district will host a STAR track and field event as well as a dance.
While the athletes, teachers and parents look forward to these tournaments annually, another group of students also looks forward to them. They are the student volunteers from various student leadership organizations at CHS, CLHS, DHS, PHS and SVHS who spend their time over the course of four weeks practicing with the athletes and cheering them on during the competition.
More than 140 student volunteers stepped up this year for the bowling tournaments including members of Meet in the Middle from DHS.
“I enjoy seeing how excited and happy the athletes are,” says Fatima Hernandez, a 12th-grade student at DHS who volunteered through Meet in the Middle.
Many of these volunteers return year after year to be a part of the excitement.
“It just puts a smile on your face for the rest of the day,” says Elizabeth Glebus, who is also a 12th-grade student at DHS and has been volunteering at the STAR bowling tournament for the past three years. “It teaches me to be appreciative for what I have and to really respect others, because you really never know what someone is going through.”
In addition to students who volunteered through leadership organizations, the SVHS ROTC presented the colors and national anthem for the high school tournament, and the DHS color guard did the honors for the middle school tournament.
The STAR program is just one more example of Comal ISD’s Every Student Connected initiative which strives to provide students at every grade level with opportunities to connect through activities and organizations as they learn new skills find their passions.
Students interested in getting more involved should visit the Every Student Connected page on the district’s website.
Congratulations to all the STAR athletes!
-Jhovani Hernandez from Smithson Valley High School and Grayson Talley from Canyon High School participated in Comal ISD’s 15th annual STAR bowling tournament on Friday, Oct. 21.
-Members of Meet in the Middle from Davenport High School volunteered for Comal ISD’s 15th annual STAR bowling tournament on Friday, Oct. 21. Pictured top row from left is Sophia Leshinsky, Elizabeth Glebus, Hana Miller, Ella Chasney, Ariana Berry and Fatima Hernandez; bottom row from left is Destiney Davila and Jamison Trevino.
-Spring Branch Middle School special education teacher Kristen Cox is pictured with SBMS 7th-grade student Abigayle Mangum.
-Spring Branch Middles School special education paraprofessional Amy Brewer and principal Sally Bratton encourage 8th-grade student Noah Smith Hagelstein during the middle school STAR bowling tournament.
-Averie Brown, 7th-grade student from Danville Middle School, enjoyed volunteering for the middle school STAR bowling tournament and cheering for Madelyn Burchett, a STAR athlete and 8th-grade student from DMS.