Kickball tournament unifies students

Teammates+gather+in+a+huddle+before+the+round+begins.+Senior+Austin+Peters+brings+unity+through+sports+between+special+needs+haum%C4%81na+and+teenage+volunteers.
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Kickball tournament unifies students

Teammates gather in a huddle before the round begins. Senior Austin Peters brings unity through sports between special needs haumāna and teenage volunteers.

Teammates gather in a huddle before the round begins. Senior Austin Peters brings unity through sports between special needs haumāna and teenage volunteers.

Photo by Aaron Veincent

Teammates gather in a huddle before the round begins. Senior Austin Peters brings unity through sports between special needs haumāna and teenage volunteers.

Photo by Aaron Veincent

Photo by Aaron Veincent

Teammates gather in a huddle before the round begins. Senior Austin Peters brings unity through sports between special needs haumāna and teenage volunteers.

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Senior volunteers came to campus for a game of kickball as senior Austin Peters’s Hōʻike Nui product on Saturday, Aug. 27, .

Haumāna from Ka Papa Lama and Seabury Hall joined Peters and his ʻohana early Saturday morning to participate in his “Unified Kickball Tournament of 2017.”

“Unified sports is a growing event throughout the nation as a way to connect those with and without special needs,” Peters said.

Senior Noa Vierra gives high fives to his teammates after the first round.

Photo by Aaron Veincent
Senior Noa Vierra gives high fives to his teammates after the first round.

Like many students, Peters based his project on his junior paper, which focused on the health benefits of exercise for people with autism or any other type of special need.

Some factors that influenced his decision were his internship with Imua Family Services and attending the national summit of the National Federation of High Schools in Indiana.

During his time there “the community service for the leadership conference was a unified sports event,” Peters said.

“We played basketball and did relay races, and I was overwhelmed with appreciation for those with special needs. They never complained and were the happiest people I met in my life.”

From this experience, Peters brought a lot manaʻo back home, as well as a new appreciation for those with special needs.

Teammates take a breather in the shade as they wait for the next round.

Photo by Aaron Veincent
Teammates take a breather in the shade as they wait for the next round.

“My goal for people without special needs is to develop a better appreciation for them,” Peters said. “At our school, we don’t normally spend time at all with those with special needs.”

Since there aren’t many opportunities, students can have blinders on when it comes to special needs, “so I was hoping my senior project would give us more time to create a creation with these remarkable people,” he said.

Although this was only one event, Peters wants to promote this connection between special needs children and KSM haumāna.

“My goal is to find a junior or another underclassman to start a best buddies program or make a Special Olympics chapter as their senior project, then keep it going as a club,” he said.

Peters thinks it can boost school spirit and student involvement in the community.

“Working with the special needs kids was a cool experience, and I’d for sure do it again,” senior participant Noa Vierra said.