On Friday, November 2nd, MS students wrapped up a festive Halloween week with an afternoon of sun, sport, and character education. After working diligently in the kitchen in the morning preparing a Dia de los Muertos meal, students spent a beautiful fall afternoon outdoors learning the fundamentals of ultimate frisbee with two Bay Area coaches from Ultimate Peace (UP). Ultimate Peace is a non-profit organization working throughout the world, especially in the Middle East, to build relationships amongst young people through the sport of ultimate frisbee. UP coaches, Jacob and Amel, have traveled the globe helping UP fulfill their mission to “build bridges of friendship, trust, and leadership between youth who live in communities divided by conflict, using the values-based sport of Ultimate as its tool.” Jacob, who is the cousin of Bobcats Quinn and Dean Cafferata-Jenkins, has played Ultimate professionally and at Penn State. His partner, Amel, a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford, recently won a world championship with the US Women’s Ultimate team in Australia.

Ultimate is a self-refereed sport, so it is well suited for teaching students about character traits such as civil discourse and self-advocacy–our middle school themes for the day in both the kitchen and on the field. As Jacob and Amel stated in their presentation to students, Ultimate “relies upon a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Players are responsible for keeping the game afloat and resolving disputes.” At the end of every Ultimate game, players from both teams form a combined circle with alternating players, called a “Spirit Circle”, to recognize each team’s efforts and to discuss any issues that may have occurred during the game.

In the words of one sixth grader, Grace B, in a thank you card to Jacob and Amel, “Ultimate Frisbee is a great sport for our middle school to learn, even if we can’t settle some agreements … I feel that we work a bit better together now. Your contributions to the world are going to hopefully make a difference that leads to a safer future and less fighting.”

We look forward to our Bobcats continuing this “spirit of the game” throughout the school year!

You can find out more about Ultimate Peace and the great work they are doing at http://www.ultimatepeace.org/