PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) — Schools are a place for children to learn the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic, but they are also a place where life lessons can be learned.
Pine-Richland High School life skills teacher and wrestling coach Ben Rings wants his students to get the most of life and he joined KDKA Radio’s Larry Richert and John Shumway to explain what the program “Best Buddies” is all about.
Rings wants his students to, “experience everything life has to offer, and I feel athletics is one of them, especially for high school students.”
He says that students who wouldn’t normally participate in wrestling do through “Best Buddies.” Kids with special needs are asked to come participate with the wrestling team. This year, there will be seven matches at the “Best Buddies Showcase.”
The students once a week practice with the team.
“They get paired up with two or three of our varsity wrestlers,” says Rings.
They learn the moves and on Wednesday, Jan. 15, the students get to, “show off their moves, hear the roar of the crowd, wrestle underneath the spotlight, and the smile on their faces is amazing.”
The “Best Buddies” program was featured in People Magazine when some parents of participants of the program recommended Rings for teacher of the year.
About the personal recognition Rings says, “It’s good for our program to get that and see what our varsity wrestlers are doing.”
Coach Rings says that the students who join the program get a lot of out of it and that his wrestlers, “get just as much out of it because they get comfortable working with students with special needs.”
He says it helps his wrestlers to be more willing to help when they see someone in the community with special needs.
The event is also collecting gently used children’s books for the non-profit organization “Anchor Point.”
You can come cheer the “Best Buddy” wrestlers Jan. 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Pine-Richland High School Gymnasium located at 700 Warrendale Road in Gibsonia.