Thirteen tables, 72 players and 12 teams bring the South Middle School community together
Every Friday throughout the school year, eighth graders show up in hundreds at South Middle School to connect and have fun through the sport of Ping-Pong.
Submitted by Arlington Heights School District 25
The final school bell rang, sending students and staff off to their weekend, and all was quiet in the hallways at South Middle School.
All except for the familiar and rapid clickity-clack sounds coming from the commons. It was Ping-Pong Tournament day at South, as 72 players making up 12 teams came together in search of connection, fun, and if the wind was blowing right, hoisting that championship honor.
"It's great to see teenagers have a chance to team up with their parents in a competition like this," Greg Lendy, Teacher at South Middle School, said. "There were a lot of smiles and laughter here tonight, and it's always so fulfilling to see the South community unite and enjoy time together."
Lendy started the club back in 2005 after some students expressed interest in Ping-Pong and 14 years later it has become a staple for 8th grade students at South. The club has grown from 25 participants and six tables to over 200 participants and 13 tables, most of which the South PTA helped purchase.
"This is the one club that encourages all kinds of students to participate," Lendy said. "We have drama students, Science Olympiads, sport team members, special needs students and everyone in between. It's great to see all of these different students come together and have so much fun."
This year-long club is unique because it meets every week, on Friday after school, beginning when they school year begins, ending the week before graduation. There is no requirement to show up every week to be considered part of the club. The only requirements are to come with a fun attitude and a willingness to learn an unfamiliar skill.
"My favorite experience is to help a student who has never played before learn how to hold the paddle and hit the ball for the first time," Lendy said. "It brings joy to my heart when I see them smile at their accomplishment."
And as much joy as it brings Lendy, the impact and joy it brings to the South community cannot be measured.
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