APD joins Pelham Police Department in helping with Special Olympics bowling tournament

Published 9:12 am Friday, October 28, 2022

By EMILY REED | Special to the Reporter

PELHAM – The Alabaster Police Department joined the Pelham Police Department to help with the Alabaster-Pelham Special Olympics bowling tournament in Pelham last week.

The event was held at Oak Mountain Lanes, and included students from both Alabaster City Schools and Pelham City Schools.

“I love this event,” said APD Corporal John St. Pierre. “Interacting with our students, encouraging them, and watching them encourage their peers is the most enjoyable part of the experience. Another enjoyable aspect is helping our amazing special education teachers by serving them with their lunch deliveries. When the officers and APD support staff help deliver meal trays, it enables the teachers to remain with their students and enjoy the game with them.”

Throughout the morning of the event, the officers chatted with students, and helped cheer them on, while also helping deliver lunch to each class.

John Reeves, with Pelham City Schools, said the students who participated in the Special Olympics Bowling, enjoyed the event because it meant something important to each who participated.

“To many of us, bowling is something that we really don’t put much thought into, maybe a spur of the moment trip once a year to spend time with friends or family,” Reeves said. “However, to the students that attended the Special Olympics Bowling, it meant so much more. It meant our teachers, students and staff were promoting acceptance and inclusion of all people. This event is something that our students and faculty at Pelham City Schools look forward to all year long.

To see our students with exceptional needs, discover new strengths and abilities and do so alongside their peers brings joy and fulfillment to all of those involved.”

Reeves said Special Olympics bowling helps foster confidence in the students with exceptionalities, both physically and mentally.

“It is truly an event you would have to experience for yourself to understand the power of Special Olympics bowling shifting the focus from a child’s disability to the child’s talents, abilities and what they can do.”

Lt. Mike Williams with the Pelham Police Department said it is an honor and privilege to be able to be a part of an event like the Special Olympics bowling.

“We champion inclusion, and these children have our support whenever they need it,” Williams said.

Both Williams and St. Pierre said a highlight of the event is the ribbon ceremony, where all of the police officers from each department get the honor of giving the first, second, third and fourth place ribbons to each student.

Eight employees with APD and 10 officers from Pelham participated in the event including, St. Pierre, Lt. Goodwin; Sgt. Collins; Officer Reach; Administrative Assistant Amy Boehm; Record Clerk, Angie Robinson; Detective Stewart and CID Secretary April Naish.

St. Pierre said at the event, you can catch the officers giving high fives and fist bumps with the students, making the whole event an enjoyable time for everyone involved.

“Partnering with our teachers is another great opportunity for us to serve,” St. Pierre said. “They work incredibly hard for these amazing students and deserve the chance to play and have a great time with them too.”

Dr. Wayne Vickers, Superintendent of Alabaster City Schools said ACS was excited to have students participate in the Special Olympics Bowling.

“This is an event the students greatly anticipate,” Vickers said. “It provides them with a wealth of adaptive PE experiences, social interactions, and opportunities to meet students from neighboring school systems. The Special Olympics Bowling also serves a dual purpose for ACS in that it engages Project Outreach students from Thompson High School. These high schoolers serve as peer helpers and mentors for our special education students. We are very proud of our students and staff who help make this event so successful each year.”