APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – The Appleton Area School District (AASD) will give students with disabilities the opportunity to participate in high school varsity athletics.

Starting in the fall, AASD will be joining the Fox Valley Association with a focus on indoor soccer, indoor floor hockey, and indoor wiffleball. Athletes in the league will have a chance to develop leadership, sportsmanship, teamwork, and character-building skills.

Available for ninth to 12th-grade students, the league will provide a safe and competitive environment for athletes to showcase their talents while fostering school pride, extra-curricular activities, and recreation.

The Fox Valley Association Adapted Sports League will facilitate competitions among schools in the area, and students who participate in all three sports will have the chance to earn a varsity letter.

“We have been researching and planning a league like this for several years but were never able to get all of the pieces to fall into place,” said Stacy Wickershiem, AASD Program Lead for Physical Therapy/Special Phy Ed. “Oshkosh West and Oshkosh North have been running a very successful program for two years, and they reached out last fall to encourage other districts to start up teams.”

Amy Steiner, Executive Director of Special Education, says that the AASD joining the Adapted Sports League is a “continued step with inclusive programming for our students with disabilities. We have a great opportunity to offer students who otherwise would not be able to participate in school athletics a chance to engage in competitive sports and form new friendships with those active in the league. The benefits of the Adapted Sports League far extend improvement in athletic skills, providing life-long lessons for all students involved.”

Current AASD students in grades nine through 12 are encouraged to sign up now.