Bobby Waugh, elementary physical education teacher and unified bocce coach, spent time on Capitol Hill this month speaking to members of Congress and advocating for the Special Olympics and unified sports.
Waugh, PETE master’s graduate, strives to improve the lives of students with special needs and create partnerships for athletes through the power of inclusion. Unified bocce pairs students with and without special needs, allowing students to earn a high school letter and form bonds practicing and competing together.
Most recently, Waugh participated in Capitol Hill Day as a Maryland representative. There, Waugh and one of his unified bocce athletes, Paul Brown, met with members of Congress to explain Special Olympics. Waugh and Brown outlined why the organization needs continued support and funding.
Waugh spoke with Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver, Congressman John Delaney, and Elijah Cummings, and Steny Hoyer, representatives for Congressmen John Sarbanes.
Waugh talked about how the Special Olympics has influenced athletes’ lives. “Coaches, mentors and Special Olympics employees and, obviously, Special Olympic athletes from 39 different states, all came together in D.C. to make it happen,” Waugh said.
For the past eight years, Waugh has been teaching elementary physical education in Washington County, Maryland and coaching unified bocce at North Hagerstown High School.
“Coaching Unified Bocce is probably the most rewarding thing that I've ever been able to do,” Waugh said. “I have had star football players, state champion volleyball players, star golfers, etc. become best friends with students in wheel chairs, students with downs syndrome, etc. It is quite incredible,” he added.
In the past, Waugh has volunteered to help Unified Sports and Special Olympics with events such as the Maryland Unified Track and Field Championships.
The Special Olympics and Unified Sports programs work to enhance the lives and eliminate the stigma of individuals with special needs. Waugh hopes to encourage individuals become involved in Special Olympic programs in their area.