The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Jamie Rodriguez
The Medford Team after their home opener on Jan. 24. Photo courtesy of Jamie Rodriguez.

Medford League Shoots High

After a snow day canceled their first home opener of 2024, the FCHS Medford League basketball team kicked off their popular season to the sounds of cheering Flucos on Jan. 24 in the gym.

The Medford League Basketball team is a group of students from Nick Ward’s Special Needs classes who don’t make the JV and varsity school teams but love to compete. This team allows these students to display their skills in front of their peers; the only difference is that the rules are not as strenuous. For example, players can travel (take more than two steps before dribbling the ball), have partners to help them if choose, and use modified baskets.

Organized a number of years ago, the Medford League is composed of Special Needs students from schools in Fluvanna, Appomattox, Buckingham, Prince Edward, and Cumberland counties. Ward, who organizes the league, wanted to make the season along the lines of the Jefferson District so that it seems similar to the regular teams the high school plays, including Orange, Monticello, and Charlottesville. The Medford League also plays other schools outside the Jefferson District, such as Culpeper, Madison, and Eastern View. Not only do these athletes play basketball, they also play kickball, go bowling, and run track and field.

“It was really good to get out there and get the Medford League started. I thought the high school was very good; they brought a lot of energy to our students…We have a lot of games in a short period of time just the JV and varsity teams here,” said Ward.

According to Ward, the process of making the game schedule is a lot of work. He works with other special education teachers to see what dates work and makes the schedule, then send it to the other coaches before Christmas, giving him time to make changes if anything clashes, while keeping in mind the unpredictable winter weather.

Ward is assisted in coaching the team by other FCHS staff, including Von Hill, Amy Hill, LaVern Poindexter, Adel Scarborough, and Cindy Bickley. They help watch the kids and do activities with them, while also keeping them safe.

“Medford is something that has been close to my heart since I first started here because it’s a way our students can be a part of something more than just their classroom. It means a lot to them to feel like they have these friends in their school and the support from their community. To see the joy on their faces when they hear their names called over the announcements, or to their friends make a basket is just incredible,” said Hill.

Ward also receives assistance from the FCHS Unified Club. Members help set up and run the games, assist the players, and help the other team with whatever they need.

“It’s a really good environment. All the kids are really sweet, caring, and just really fun to hang around. It’s never boring, and it makes me happy to always see a smile on their faces,” said club member Reagan Wood.

Sophomore George Gibson, a member of the Medford League, enjoys the Medford games because he likes playing basketball, plus he likes the environment of the games and the excitement of the fans.

As for freshman Dadonte Thompson, he says he likes shooting three-pointers and making layups during the game. “Basketball is my favorite out of all the sports,” he said.

Assistant Principal Chad White said he appreciates how the Medford League enables students to showcase their skill and enjoyment for the sport in front of their peers. “[The Medford League] gives them the chance to be a part of a team and get those experiences,” he said.

Students interested in joining Ward’s Unified Club are welcome to join by signing up. The club meets during the first- and fourth-period WIN club days in room 3405.

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