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Catholic Education adds new sports and competitions to elementary schools

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The Diocese of Buffalo is excited to announce a new set of activities and sports for its elementary schools. Starting this fall, students will be able to participate in bowling, flag football, golf, kickball and math competitions in addition to the regularly scheduled girls volleyball and coed cross country seasons. In the winter, students will be able to participate in spelling bee, science fair, robotics and chess in addition to girls and boys basketball. In the spring, new opportunities will include tennis, bowling and kickball in addition to boys volleyball, girls softball, and coed track.

Kickball is just one of the new sports coming to Catholic elementary schools this fall.

The new activities represent the Catholic Education Department’s initiative to connect more students to their schools. “We are all concerned that the pandemic separated so many students from their classmates and their communities,” said Dr. Timothy Uhl, secretary of Education. “We want to open up more opportunities for students to have fun.”

Elementary Athletics Director Brian Kiszewski, who has been in the position for over two decades, is excited to lead these new initiatives. “It’s a challenge to find volunteers to fill out the coaching and chaperone needs but we know that our students are going to love these activities,” said Kiszewski.

As opposed to long seasons, many of these activities are one-day events to emphasize getting more students involved. Kickball, for instance, is a one-day coed tournament for students in grades 3-6 on a Saturday. Kiszewski hopes that the schools will teach kickball rules and generate interest in September. Chess is a one-day diocesan championship held Feb. 4, during Catholic Schools Week. Golf and tennis are both one-day tournaments designed for junior-level competitors who play those club sports.

STREAM Director Siobhan Pawelczyk is coordinating most of the academic co-curricular activities such as robotics, spelling bee, science fair and math competitions. The hope is that schools will teach the skills and hold school championships before an interschool challenge.

The one sport that Kiszewski believes will generate a lot of interest is bowling. As a former professional bowler, he has seen the sport’s popularity. Schools will be asked to reserve lanes over a six-week period and populate those lanes with their students. For 90 minutes once a week, students will have a chance to have some fun after school. Then the diocese will conduct a one-day championship (individual and team trophies will be awarded). If successful, there will be another “season” in the spring.

Participation and sportsmanship are two pillars of the Catholic Education Department’s efforts. “We hope to teach and celebrate one character virtue every month,” said Uhl. In October, sportsmanship will be the emphasis across all schools and positive behavior for students, parents and coaches will be celebrated.

Interested families should contact their school athletic directors for more information.

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