NMU Students Host Bowling Field Day

Ishpeming fifth- through eighth-grade students with various special needs hit the lanes before the holiday break for a group bowling activity that combined fun and camaraderie with an opportunity to learn valuable life skills. NMU seniors in an “orientation to special education class” organized the outing as their end-of-semester service learning project.

“They contacted local special education teachers about the possibility of holding a special field day just for kids with disabilities and secured a grant through the Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Service Agency,” said Kathy Heikkila (Education), who teaches the course. “They were nervous, thinking it might be total chaos, but they had it organized so well that it went off perfectly.”

Craig Goff of C.L. Phelps Middle School agreed. He was one of the teachers who escorted 36 Ishpeming students to the event. The delegation was greeted by about 24 NMU students. “The effort they’ve made is tremendous,” said Goff, during the field day at Superior Lanes in Marquette. “It’s giving our students a well-deserved break from school and an opportunity to socialize in a public setting. It’s neat to see them interact with the college students, too. Wildcat Willy showed up for a while. We’re all giving it a double thumbs up.”

In addition to socialization, NMU student Ellie Luce said the bowling activity also was an exercise in basic math skills. “The students had a chance to handle money, paying for the shoe rental, games and snacks. They also learned how the game is scored. Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun. We were really pleased with the turnout.”

Luce added that the Ishpeming school district was very receptive to the idea and even prepared students in advance by discussing how to find the proper shoe size, rules for bowling and proper etiquette at the lanes.

Heikkila said students enrolled in the NMU class are required to plan and execute a service learning project every semester.


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Updated: January 17, 2007

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