Bishop McGuinness students help teach soccer to autistic children

Members of the Bishop McGuinness High School girls' soccer team helped teach soccer fundamentals to children who have autism who attend Good Shepherd Catholic School at Mercy.
BY CARLA HINTON chinton@opubco.com Published: April 21, 2012

Students at two Catholic schools have gathered on the soccer field not for a match, but for life lessons.

Throughout the school year, members of the Bishop McGuinness High School girls' soccer team helped mentor young students at Good Shepherd Catholic School at Mercy. Good Shepherd, 13404 N Meridian, is the state's first school geared for children with autistic spectrum and similar neurological disorders.

Recently, students from both schools came together for the girls' soccer team's senior night presentation at a soccer game at Bishop McGuinness, 801 NW 50.

Coach Sally Schmidt said the soccer players have worked with the Good Shepherd students since the school opened in the fall of 2011. She said the girls taught the young children soccer fundamentals and along the way developed friendships with them.

“The kids are just awesome and they want to be a part of a team,” Schmidt said.

She said the interaction between the two groups was a blessing to the team.

“Our players were humbled to do this,” Schmidt said. “The rewards were just seeing the kids' faces. They smiled whenever the girls were out there with them.”

Mary Kate Roy, 18, was one of the players who helped escort several Good Shepherd students out on the McGuinness soccer field on senior night.

“Walking out with us on the field, saying the prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, they might not be able to experience that, so it was nice having them be a part of that atmosphere,” Roy said.

Elyse Hight, another McGuinness senior, said she worked with the Good Shepherd students once a week for about an hour. She said soccer team members were pleased at how the children progressed as the lessons continued.