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Bowling field trip helps students ‘strike’ up new friendships

Students with physical disabilities from across the Lake County Schools District converged this month at Classique Bowling Center in Tavares for a unique opportunity of participating in a fun activity while meeting students from other schools.

“Most of these students are one of only a few students at their schools with a physical disability,” said Pat Porak, a Program Specialist for Lake County Schools Exceptional Student Education Department. “When they come here, they get to meet other students with the same challenges.”

Tavares High School students Ashley Kimball and Parker Cook line up a shot at a recent bowling field trip.

The group of nearly two dozen students was from grades first through 12th. Assistive devices such as ball ramps and gutter guards made it possible for all students to participate, while the generosity of one local businessman made sure each student was financially able to attend. Richard Vicory, president of Performance Rehabilitation, located at 1509 W. Orange Blossom Trail in Apopka, sponsored the event making it a cost-free activity for students.

“I do it for the kids,” Vicory said. “They always have so much fun. I know some have missed the event in past years because they couldn’t afford it and we can’t have that.”

Performance Rehabilitation specializes in orthopedics and aquatic therapy. On Dec. 2, Vicory closed his business to give employees an opportunity to witness how the company’s donation made a difference in the community.

“We have a responsibility to the community,” he said. “Too many businesses are focused on making money and not on who they serve.”

The bowling field trip has turned into an annual event. Many of the students have participated in the event for a number of years, including Tavares High School students Ashley Kimball and Parker Cook. The bowling duo took turns knocking down the pins while family and school staff watched.

“They look forward to it because it’s something they can do on their own,” said Joann Kimball, Ashley’s grandmother.

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