Caption: Students participate in a seated volleyball game
Team Canada seated volleyball players Andrew Tucker and Derek Symonowicz visited St. George-German Public School at the end of January to speak with students about the power of sport, and the character traits needed to overcome obstacles and achieve excellence. The visit also invited students and staff to take part in a game of seated volleyball, with parents and community members cheering them on.
Both athletes discovered ParaSports after injuries or illnesses that resulted in the loss of a leg. Participation in sport had been an important part of Andrew and Derek’s lives before their accidents, and finding seated volleyball and other sporting opportunities had a tremendous impact. Students cheered as the athletes demonstrated the skills of their sport at two assemblies during the school day.
"Our students watched in amazement at how easy the athletes made it all look," noted Principal Thad Zebroski. "When they tried it themselves, they realized how much skill and atheleticism is needed, and it gave them a new perspective."
Seated volleyball has similar rules to other versions of volleyball, but the court is smaller and the net is closer to the ground. Players must keep some part of their torsos on the floor at all times, and propel themselves around the court using their arms or legs.
Students were given the opportunity to ask questions of the athletes, inquiring about international competitions, parallel (Para) sport, and the importance of physical activity in the healing process.
The St. George-German school community wishes Andrew and Derek the best of luck as they prepare to compete in 2017 Ontario ParaSport Winter Games from February 10-12th in Brantford and Brant County.