Rouse’s Savannah Skopal helping create legacy with Raiders with ‘Unified P.E.’

Rouse’s Savannah Skopal helping create legacy with Raiders with ‘Unified P.E.’

LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) — Sports are a great unifier. They can bring different people together to enjoy competition. At Rouse High School, that’s the case for athletes like Maddalynn Poirier.

“I like to play lots of sports [and] games,” said the freshman. “It just makes me feel included.”

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Poirier gets plenty of opportunities to compete at Rouse in their unique gym class called “Unified P.E.” The class is just a few years old and started in part when Savannah Skopal, a sophomore at the time, had an idea.

“I got to a point where I was mostly known for volleyball,” said Skopal. “That’s not the only thing I wanted to be known for.”

Skopal, with help from teachers like Corey Elrod, proceeded to launch the class that pairs general education athletes, or partners, to work with special education athletes, or teammates.

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“For her to say, ‘I want my legacy to be more,’ shows her level of maturity and the environment she grows up in,” said Elrod.

The class has grown in a major way. Stiles Middle School in Leander has adopted the same class.

The success of the class wasn’t always clear, however.

“Last year a lot of people were hesitant to actually join because they didn’t really know what it was about,” said Skopal.

“We have a waiting list of kids wanting to get in the class that was almost 75 kids this year,” said Elrod about the growth of the class.

Skopal, a senior set to play volleyball at Rice, was focused on leaving a legacy beyond her athletics. She’s certainly done that and enjoyed the process along the way.

“Just those smiles are not something that you necessarily see,” said Skopal. “Just walking in the halls I’ll say hi but that’s not always something that you see from them. So I’d say being in this environment and using that time is definitely a very rewarding feeling. And just knowing these kids are having fun with you.”

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