Striking Down Barriers

Senior Alex Doremus joins the bowling team and overcomes shyness with some help.

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Striking Down Barriers

Annie Smuts

Annie Smuts

Annie Smuts

Jacob Sirhan, In-Depth Editor

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A coat of grease covered everything, the carpet was fading and the air smelled of stale pizza. The room was filled with the sounds of people talking and laughing, the banging of the bowling balls hitting the floor and the crashing of pins. There was excitement on people’s faces.

A few years ago, senior Alex Doremus wouldn’t have attended this kind of event. Yet here he was, bowling at Five Star Lanes with some of his best friends. It was only a few months after he participated in his last game of his first and final season as a member of the bowling team.

Doremus competed with the team at the state meet at Sterling Lanes. The meet was Saturday, Feb. 17 and Sunday, Feb. 18 consisting of a singles and doubles tournament. Doremus said the team did alright. He joined the team in November, but he said if he could go back, he would have joined sooner.

“My dad inspired me to join,” Doremus said. “I like bowling. It’s fun and entertaining. It makes me feel happy, having fun with friends and learning about bowling.”

According to many people around him, joining the team was a huge step for him. One of his best friends, senior Kyle Kimmel, joined the team alongside Doremus.

“We always try to do it on the weekend,” Kimmel said. “That’s our favorite sport. I think he wanted to [bowl] because we were doing it and he heard how much fun it was, and that was good for him.”
Doremus’ LINK, Senior Drew Meyer, also had a lot to say about his time bowling.

“It is his favorite thing to talk about,” Meyer said. “He just is very good at it. Every time he comes over [to me], he talks about it. I think that it’s just something he really likes to do. If I ask how his weekend was, he is always like, ‘Oh we had a bowling competition!’ It’s always the first thing he wants to tell me about.”

The LINKS program provides students with an opportunity to support and model academic and social skills for a peer with a disability. Students are paired with their peer as a mentor and friend in one of the peer’s classes. This pairing helps the students adapt to the curriculum and meet the needs of the student. This additional support allows more one-on-one attention to students that can benefit from it.
This year is Doremus’ second year in the program and Meyer’s first.

“I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do my senior year and I was like ‘LINKS? What’s that?’” Meyer said. “I did it in middle school and I really liked working with the kids. It’s felt really good to be able to help those kids out every day, [with] things that they are doing. It’s pretty cool because in high school, you get to be in the class too. I never really had room in my schedule to take Foods or Woods so that’s cool because I get to learn about [the class] and help them too.”

Meyer is currently in the Woods 1 and Woods 2 combined class with Doremus and two other students from Mr. Uberti’s and Ms. Abele’s classes, and she was in Foods 2 last semester as a LINK.
“It’s just fun building relationships with the kids and getting to talk to them every day,” Meyer said. “They ask me questions about my life and we talk about their lives. [I] like [to] help them with the stuff I can help them with.”

Meyer said Doremus keeps to himself during class.

“His best friend in the class is [sophomore] Margo [Broser]. They basically sit next to each other and just talk the whole time,” Meyer said. “He’s quiet but he gets everything done. He was telling me his bowling scores, and he’s so much better than me it’s ridiculous. Alex is like my go-to guy. I try to help him but I don’t know anything about Woods so he helps me more than I help him. I think he can sit down next to me and explain all the big machines and what they do.”

Doremus loves the program as well because of the people he has met through it. But he is also able to take classes, such as Woods, too.

“[Drew is] an amazing LINK,” Doremus said. “She helps me, helps my friends. I like talking to her.”
In the summer, Doremus and his father would build together in their workshop in the attic.

“Woods is amazing too. I like it a lot,” Doremus said. “My dad inspired me with that, too. My dad is my best friend.”

Many have said they have seen Doremus grow significantly over the past few years. With the support of Doremus’ teachers and friends, the LINKS program and the bowling team, Doremus feels he has overcome some of the shyness that used to limit him in the past. He believes that the program has been good for him and he can talk to more people now.

“Being shy is not fun,” Doremus said. “The program is good for me. It changed me to not be so shy anymore. It makes it easier to talk to people. It feels amazing. Amazing because I can make a lot of friends that I don’t know. I like getting to know people.”

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