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Partners Club: A Place for Everyone

Partners+Club+at+an+October+bowling+tournament.+
Partners Club at an October bowling tournament.

Partners Club at an October bowling tournament.

Partners Club at an October bowling tournament.

Quincy Donley, Reporter

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West Anchorage High School has a unique program bringing Special Education and General Education students together as part of a district-wide organization sponsored by Special Olympics Alaska. Located in Room 38, The West Partners Club meets every Wednesday at lunch.

Throughout the school year, Partners Club explores sports and activities in and outside of West. The sports include bowling, floor hockey, downhill skiing, and basketball. For every sport there is a city or statewide tournament with clubs from other schools.

Senior Alex Lahn is a member of the Life Skills classes and Partners Club. His favorite memories over the years are from the bowling events. “Partners Club is awesome…and the bowling is really fun,” says Lahn. Bowling is a favorite for many members of the club. Another popular winter activity for Partners Club is skiing or snowboarding. The athletes have the opportunity to practice skiing and snowboarding at Hilltop Ski Area throughout the winter season, and in the past, there has been a citywide downhill skiing event.

Grace Henry, a senior at West, is the president of the club. She joined the club as a freshman, and she just kept coming back. Henry’s job is to lead the weekly meetings and organize activities. “The Special Olympics Community as a whole is such an amazing group, and just helping them and helping Partners Club is really fulfilling,” says Henry. Seeing the Partners Club kids around the school is especially rewarding for Henry. She says that Partners Club is a great way to get involved in the school community, and she’s made many friends that she might not have met otherwise.

There are four teacher advisors who facilitate the club and help plan activities: Temperance Tinker, Kaleb Kuehn, Jade Lee and Eric Camp. Tinker, an English teacher, is the only sponsor who does not work in the Special Education Department, though she began her career at West in 2009 teaching Special Education Math and English. Tinker currently teaches Honors English II and IB Literature.

Tinker says one of the reasons for her involvement in the club is so she can promote it to her own students. She wants people to see past the common misconceptions of Special Education students. “There are two rooms of Special Education students, and we want to make both of those rooms a place where everyone is welcome, where it’s not scary, where the Special Ed students aren’t ‘othered’ or ‘weirdos’, but are actually friends with the General Ed students,” Tinker says.

At the beginning of the school year the attendance rate for the club is usually high, but as the year progresses, attendance typically declines. Tinker and Henry both wish more people would come to Partners Club. On the other hand, Tinker likes that it is very laid back, so someone could show up only a few times, but they would still be considered a member of the club. Partners Club is a kind and accepting community so people are always welcome to come and try it out.

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10 Comments

10 Responses to “Partners Club: A Place for Everyone”

  1. Adisak Prasannet on May 10th, 2018 1:57 pm

    This is very interesting and nice article. I like how it’s informative and how it shows the importance of the overall aspect of Partners Club.

  2. Jackson Pillifant on May 13th, 2018 10:34 pm

    This article really focuses on how partners club is very accepting of everyone who wants to join and how it is a staple in the west high community. It makes it sound like an amazing experience to have while in high school.

  3. Dina Elmostafa on May 14th, 2018 8:38 pm

    Great article! I never knew that we had a Partners Club! Since we never really get to interact with special education students, it’s nice to see special education and general education being involved in the community and sports together. Keep it up!

  4. Will Simpson on May 15th, 2018 9:44 am

    Dope that they do this at West and make everyone feel welcome.

  5. Ava on May 17th, 2018 9:08 am

    Really cool article! I’ve always wanted to know more about partners club.

  6. Afton Milliman on May 17th, 2018 12:06 pm

    This artical is so good! it makes me want to join partners club. I really enjoyed reading it and learning what partners club is.

  7. Afton Milliman on May 17th, 2018 12:10 pm

    It makes me want to join partners club. I really enjoyed reading it and learning what partners club is.

  8. Afton Milliman on May 17th, 2018 12:13 pm

    This is fabulous, you will definitley be seeing me in partners club!

  9. Jack Schumacher on May 18th, 2018 8:43 am

    I appreciate how the partners club puts in so much effort to let them have fun

  10. Darby Miller on May 18th, 2018 8:46 am

    This article was good, and I enjoyed reading it. It shows about the aspects of the partner club.

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