Oyster River High School’s Best Buddies Chapter to Participate in Friendship Walk at State House

Oyster River Cooperative School District
SAU No. 5
Superintendent James Morse
36 Coe Drive
Durham, NH 03824

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Phone: 617-993-0003
Email: [email protected]

Oyster River High School’s Best Buddies Chapter to Participate in Friendship Walk at State House

DURHAM — Oyster River High School’s Best Buddies Student President Joe Morrell is very pleased to announce that the Oyster River High School Best Buddies Chapter will be participating in the 2018 Best Buddies Friendship Walk at the State House in Concord later this month.

Oyster River High School 10th grader Tinuifeoluwa Afolayan and ORHS Best Buddies Chapter President Joe Morrell at the Best Buddies Spread the Word to End the Word Rally in Concord (Courtesy Photo Joe Morrell)
Oyster River High School 10th grader Tinuifeoluwa Afolayan and ORHS Best Buddies Chapter President Joe Morrell at the Best Buddies Spread the Word to End the Word Rally in Concord (Courtesy Photo Joe Morrell)

The newly-formed ORHS chapter, which is comprised of more than 25 high school students, helps to build a more inclusive school environment and foster friendships between students both with and without intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD).

The ORHS chapter will participate in a statewide Best Buddies Friendship Walk on Saturday, May 12, in celebration of those relationships and the effort to include students of all backgrounds and abilities.

Best Buddies is an international nonprofit organization founded in 1989, by Anthony Shriver, to provide opportunities for the more than 200 million people with IDD. Starting at Georgetown University, Best Buddies today has more than 2,300 chapters worldwide. Oyster River High School started its chapter in the fall of 2017 and is led by student president Joe Morrell as well as four faculty advisers: Kim Wolph, Ryan Long, Misty Lowe and Amanda Mcleod.

“Oyster River High School is leading the Best Buddies mission of friendship and inclusion with a force!” said New Hampshire Best Buddies State Director Sarra Dennehy. “We are so impressed with their dedication and teamwork, from the advisers and the students alike.”

Despite its short existence, the Oyster River High School chapter has already organized numerous initiatives, such as the implementation of a campaign at their school to end the use of the ‘R-word,’ as well as creating ‘buddy matches’ that pair students with and without an IDD.

As part of Oyster River’s chapter, involved students are paired with students with IDD and meet twice a month outside of school, attending group activities like pizza making and flower pot decorating. The buddy matches allow for friendships to be built between students with and without IDD and also help improve students’ quality of life and level of inclusion.

“The early successes our chapter has been truly inspiring,” President Morrell said. “I’m so excited by the positive response all of my classmates have had to this initiative, and I’m looking forward to celebrating the Best Buddies program at the State House with students from all over New Hampshire.”

The annual walk celebrates the accomplishments of the state’s chapters, highlights the special abilities of people with IDD and raises funds for the organization. Currently the ORHS Chapter is leading all New Hampshire chapters by raising more than $2,000.

Anyone interested in donating to the walk can do so by clicking here.

In addition to the committed work of all the students involved, the ORHS chapter is supported by staff advisers, School Nurse Kimberly Wolph, School Psychologist Ryan Long and Director of Special Education Misty Lowe.

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