The National Honors Society Pitches in with special needs baseball players


Erin Grier

The Brewers and the A’s team congratulated each other following the first game of the season. The non-competitive, all inclusive games allow the players to create lasting relationships with their teammates and shows them they are an important part of the community.

Erin Grier, Reporter, Photographer

Students from the National Honors Society (NHS) volunteered at baseball games at Kennworth Park starting on September 14, with their final game on October 16 to aid special needs children playing baseball. Nena Tippens, chemistry teacher at NC and the adviser of NHS, signed her students up to help for 20 games this season. Each student paired up with a player on the team and helped run bases throughout the game.

“It made me feel really good, they were all so nice and sweet, they’ll just talk to you about anything,” senior Lauryn Wardlaw said.

At opening night on September 14, students helped out in a game between the Brewers and the A’s on Horizon Field, a flat, wheelchair accessible area. The students played with the Horizon Baseball League, a special league for children and young adults with developmental or physical disabilities, ages five and up. The Horizon league ensures each game remains non-competitive and inclusive.

Erin Grier
The Brewers team and students from the National Honors Society celebrate together after the game.

“The league starts at the age of five, and I think our oldest player is 68. We have 18 teams, all different age groups. The adults play on Thursdays, and the youth play on Saturdays,” special populations coordinator at Kennworth Park Lauren Ham said.

Physical activity improves the moods of physically and cognitively challenged adults and children, and improves their motor skills. Playing baseball allows them to socialize and create lasting relationships with their teammates.

“It was easy to connect with them because we were doing something they liked to do,” senior Ysabel Punzalan said.

The NHS also volunteered at the park last fall, and this year Interact Club followed suit and took part in this activity.  In addition to providing positive experiences for those with special needs, the games also allowed members of NHS learn about the kids they worked with. Working with students bettered their understanding of those with disabilities. To some, the experience made them reevaluate their future and recognize new career options.  

“Volunteering made me feel really proud of the community that we’re in,” Punzalan said.

Erin Grier
Each NC student pairs up with a player from either the Brewers team or the A’s team, and helped run bases with the special needs team members throughout the game. Both the student volunteers and the team players enjoyed the cool autumnal weather, smiling at each other every chance they received.