‘It probably made their whole year’: Unified Bocce tournament comes to Middleboro

Jan 28, 2024

MIDDLEBORO — As a student athlete on the swim and track teams, Middleboro High School Senior and Student Body President Kendall Santos said she was “proud” to organize a unified bocce tournament that helps include students with disabilities in school athletics.

“It’s honestly really amazing how many people are here,” Santos said of the tournament. “I’m so proud to be a part of it.”

On Saturday, Jan. 27, the Middleboro High School was the host of a unified bocce tournament that Santos and other students had spent the past three months organizing. Unified sports are an activity where students with and without disabilities play on the same team. Middleboro previously fielded a unified basketball team in the fall and will also field a unified track team in the spring.

“There’s groups of people [for whom participating in sports] is really hard,” Santos explained. “This is just something that they get to be a part of.”

In addition to playing bocce, students enjoyed activities such as drawing and face painting at the tournament. Middleboro students stepped up to help organize the tournament, hand out awards and keep the event running smoothly. One student, Leah Fregault, volunteered her time to paint other students' faces.

Esme, a student from Duxbury High School, said that bocce was her favorite activity of the day and that she “loved throwing the ball.”

Bocce is a sport where players throw balls on the ground and where points are earned based on the position of each ball.

The tournament ended with an awards ceremony where students from each school received medals. School Resource Officer Brian Wiksten, who helped give out medals, said that it was “amazing” to see the excited reactions students had when they received a medal “for all the hard work they’ve done.”

“Not only did it probably make their day; it probably made their whole year,” he said.

“I went to high school here, I was involved with student council, and I did a lot of work with the special olympics while I was here,” Wiksten explained. “Seeing it come full circle was great,”