Milo Mustangs tournament gives Carmangay chance to play

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Milo School organized an end-of-season volleyball tournament that celebrated not only the return of the sport to Milo, but a first opportunity for students from Carmangay Outreach School to compete.

Milo Principal Jason Neville said the mid-day tournament, held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, provided an opportunity for students from Carmangay to attend. All of the students at the Grade 7-12 school in Carmangay are bused, so after-school sports and other activities aren’t practical.

Joining Milo and Carmangay at the event were teams from Arrowwood, Brant Christian and Champion schools.

Fred Jack, vice-principal of Carmangay Outreach, said the school serves young people from the region’s Low German-speaking Mennonite community. As an outreach program, students manage a flexible schedule. That along with busing makes maintaining after-school programs a challenge. The students don’t traditionally compete in school sports, and this is the first year the school has had a volleyball team at all.

“It’s been a great opportunity for our kids today,” Jack said.  “They’ve been excited about it for weeks.

”To finally get here today and to be welcomed as warmly as we have. . . It’s just been a terrific day for our kids, one I think they’re going to think back upon fondly for a real long time.”

It was also a big day for Milo School, the first time in recent memory the school has hosted a tournament of any kind.

Mealane Deitz, whose two daughters attend Milo, said she was skeptical initially about finding volunteers for a daytime event, but the tournament proved to be a “wonderful” opportunity.

The gym was filled with spectators.

“Just how much joy there seems to be, everyone is happy,” Deitz said. “They’re all having a good time. The sportsmanship, those are the positives I’ve seen today.”

Neville said he saw new faces in the school for the first time for the tourney, strengthening the sense of community at the school.

Through sports, the students are also learning team building and other life skills.

Neta Penner, a student at Carmangay, was one of the very few on her team who had played organized sports before, having previously played on a team at Noble Central School.

“Volleyball is absolutely my favourite sport. I guess the thing I like most about volleyball is the teamwork. You can support each other really well.”

Neville, in his first year as principal of Milo School, said his students had “a great first year” of volleyball.

“A lot of fun, a lot of learning,” Neville said.