Bonita Vista High School’s Adapted P.E team plays once again in the annual Baron Buddies soccer tournament, playing against eleven different schools within the district. By the end of the day, the team added a twelfth trophy to their extensive collection.

by Juliette Nguyen and Lena Rodriguez


@jnguyencrusader, @lenarcrusader

With 11 high schools and four middle schools participating, the annual Baron Buddies soccer tournament kicked off the start of the disabled students sports season on Nov. 6, 2015.

“I started this because I wanted to give my kids an opportunity to be on stage for the rest of the school. They spend so much of their time watching their peers, I wanted them to shine,” program coordinator Charlene Love said.

Thinking about the kids, the school invited students and staff to cheer on their peers and to provide moral support. The goal of the event is not to pronounce a winner, but to create a friendly environment and a fun experience.

“Everybody wins, so… they all get a trophy that they get to go home and [show] their parents… Just to see the smiles on their faces makes everyone happy,” soccer coach Armando Rodriguez said.

The peer buddies, along with the special education staff, came together weeks ahead of the tournament so that everything would run smoothly on the day of. According to Love, the vendors were decided a month in advance as well.

“Since we’ve been doing this tournament for about twelve years, we kind of have it down… I take notes every year to make sure that I [do] whatever needs to be be done to make it more successful,’’ Love said.

Since the first tournament that Bonita has hosted, transportation still remains to be a long standing problem for the tournament. According to Love, there is always at least one school that shows up late.

“It’s such a large district… it’s hard to get the buses here on time. [Especially because] we had more people attending this year,” Love said.

Although the increased numbers of kids participating in the tournament did cause a few issues, it was also what set this year apart from last year. Along with more kids playing, a larger audience showed up for support.

“The kids seemed a lot more involved this year. Last year, a lot of the kids would just wander around, but this year they seemed more into it… it seemed like [students] came to eat and buy stuff, then left.There was a lot more people cheering them on, seeing their friends and the Baron Buddies [got] them hyped up,” Rodriguez said.

For students who have participated several times, like senior Xavier Alston, these annual tournaments are chances to meet old friends and make new ones.

“I like soccer, I like all my friends to cheer me on… I have one from the other team… I was just passing the ball with my other friends [and] being nice to everybody. I didn’t call anybody a loser, I was just nice. It was nice,” said Alston.

The tournament would not have gone as well as it did without all of the student help, which was led by Baron Buddy president Guy Jester. Brian Hyder, who is the instructional health care assistant that works with the Baron Buddies alongside Charlene Love, would like to give a special thanks to all Baron Buddies that stepped up this year.
“Honestly no words can describe the feeling that I’m able to give back to the baron buddies. I thank everyone that came out to support the club, I hope everyone enjoyed their day watching these amazing kids playing soccer,” Jester said.