Wooster school board honors student achievement

WOOSTER DISTRICT — Wooster City Schools moved its Tuesday evening board meeting to Wooster High School’s Performing Arts Center, accommodating guests of entire teams of students being recognized for academic and athletic excellence.

First up was the Ohio Interscholastic wheelchair basketball championship team, introduced by the district’s athletic director, Andy Kellar.

“I’m so glad we were able to provide this opportunity,” Kellar said.

“Look what it provided for kids,” he said, showing a video highlighting the team’s success and interviewing team members about what it means to them to participate.

Lisa Followay, executive director of the Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio, told the audience about the challenges it has helped them to overcome.

It gives team members “the same opportunities” as other students have, and has been blessed with support from the legislature and district personnel, she said.

Wooster’s team has also served as a “springboard” for other districts to get on board, she said.

In 2015, ”(Wooster’s) was the only team in the state,” said Coach Brett Followay, resulting in an agenda of team scrimmages, sometimes with Wooster staff members.

The next year Massillon fielded a team, and this year Wooster’s team competed as well with Tallmadge, GlenOak and Austintown Fitch and ended the season undefeated. It was also the winner of the inaugural Ohio Interscholastic Wheelchair Basketball State Championship.

“Come out and watch them,” Followay said. “I think you’ll be blown away” by the team comprised of Madyson Followay, Ryan Hannan, Colin Harig, Evan Heller, Hailey Hines, Makayla Maxwell, Ashton Mohn, Beau Vandermark, Karlee West and Kaylee West.

State Sen. Frank LaRose (R-Hudson) also honored the team for its state championship with a resolution reading, “Wooster City Schools pioneered this league in our state, expanding the opportunities for our students.

“These young men and women displayed dedication to their sport, their school and their community and I am honored to recognize their accomplishments,” LaRose said in his statement.

“The Wooster Generals were the first wheelchair basketball team in the state and have gone undefeated since their start in 2015. This season, the co-ed team grew from five players to 10 and included students from grades one through 12,” La Rose said.

Next up for recognition at the board meeting were the national competitors — Nicholas Cosmo, International Extemporaneous Speaking; Jacob Gooch, Congressional Debate; Alvin Makori, Original Oratory; Lexi Nolletti and Bryn Savidge, Informative Speaking — from the Wooster High School Speech and Debate Team.

“What a privilege to have such a great speech and debate program, year in and year out,” said high school principal Tyler Keener.

“We were competing against the best in the nation every single week,” said Coach Bill Franck.

Amanda Largent also introduced national competitors — her Academic Challenge team which competed in Washington, D.C. in the spring.

Largent described the “high intensity” of competition and students “strategically sitting at the edge of their seats” poised to buzz in on hundreds of questions on just about every subject.

Certain team members were known for their expertise in specific subject matter, for example, Seth Opatz, geography; Hayden Michel, math; ancient Rome, Zach and Ethan Keating; sports, Justin Parks; and pop culture, particularly Hamilton on Broadway, the sixth-graders.

“It is about having knowledge, but so much more,” Largent said, including “learning confidence in yourself and your teammates.”

Team competitors were Michel, Allison Snyder, Kyia Wolf, Opatz, Tamas Regan, Michael Nguyen, Isaac Michener, Parks, Isabelle Castelluci, Ben Stavnezer, Owen Buchholz, Megan Kleinhenz, Nora Levy, Oliver Miller, Jack Hannan, Jackson Stansifer, Molly Snyder, Zhade Ellis and the Keatings.

This year, said Largent, the seventh- and eighth-grade team members won the Tri-County Educational Service Center tournament and a meet in Mansfield, in addition to placing second at the John Carroll regional tournament, qualifying them for national competition.

Likewise, the fifth- and sixth-grade team members’ first, second and third-place wins in Mansfield tournaments qualified them for the national tournament.

Story originally written by Linda Hall for the The Wooster Daily Record on 6/29/18.

Read original article here.