BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — For the first time since 2019, The Park School of Buffalo has a girls bowling team.
"To have the girls interested in coming back and learn how to bowl and to participate in our bowling program, it means a lot," said Park bowling coach Wilson Bautista.
Low numbers and the COVID-19 Pandemic forced the girls program to go on a two-year hiatus, but they were able to bring it back this season. Five students were interested including senior Ja'Onni McClerkin, one of the initial members of the team in 2019.
"I wanted to be an active part of my community and I just wanted to live my best life basically as a senior," she said.
McClerkin had never bowled competitively before joining the program and after taking that two-year break, is still shaking off the rust. According to the Classic Lanes season stats, she has a season high of 158 and has grown to love the sport and the opportunity to do something more.
"It's nice to have something to do and be with my friends," she said. "It's a nice getaway from the schoolwork."
As one of the older girls on the team, McClerkin is an example and perfect role model for her teammates. While she's not the best bowler in the Monsignor Martin League, she may be the most composed.
"Sometimes you're gonna have good bowling days and sometimes you're gonna have bad ones," Bautista said. "Somebody with a lot of composure really helps us balance our team out."
She's composed both on and off the lanes and it's her academic accomplishment that are really impressive. She's been accepted into nine colleges and universities so far, earning a combined total of $100,000 in school-specific scholarships.
"I feel proud of myself for being able to accomplish that," McClerkin said. "I'm just looking forward to where I'm gonna go and how I'm gonna be in real life."
A poised and charismatic young woman who enjoys being a role model.
She's a leader, a member of the community, and a scholar athlete, all with a bright future ahead of her.
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