First Posted: 1/6/2014
Back Mountain Bowl is filled with laughter and chatter on Tuesday afternoons. Rock Solid Academy, a nondenominational private school located at nearby Twin Stacks, offers bowling as a weekly after-school activity for its students.
On a recent Tuesday, colorful lightweight green and orange balls and mechanical bumpers which prevent dreaded “gutter balls” made the activity easy for even the youngest children.
Automatic scoring machines allowed all the students to follow their progress and to know whose turn it was to bowl. Some of the older students showed some serious bowling skills but, for the younger kids, enthusiasm rather than style was the order of the day.
Head of School Mark DiPippa was there to watch and encourage the students. DiPippa describes the academy as “a private school with Christian values.” He said that school enrolment is 68 students from grades K-12 and that 25 students of all ages signed up for the activity. “A third of the school is at the bowling alley today,” he said.
The activity is run by Bill Norwig, a school volunteer. Norwig organized the activity “because we needed to start sports.” He said the school also sponsors street hockey and the school doubled in size this year and that means more participants for the bowling program.
Norwig said that on March 6 students will bowl at Chacko’s Bowling Center against the Wyoming Valley Montessori School in Kingston. The students will bowl at Chaco’s.
Norwig also runs a bowling activity at the Montessori school. “I’ve run a bowling program there for seven years,” he said.
Serving youths is nothing new for Norwig as he has spent his life working with students. A retired teacher and principal, he taught in New Jersey public schools, became principal of Lancaster Christian School and then became a principal in Sweet Valley. He has also served as a home school evaluator.
Friends Antonio Sanderson and Kolia Croop were bowling together during Tuesday’s outing.
Sanderson, 11, of Duryea is in fifth grade and has been at the school since it opened in 2012. This is also his second year bowling. He likes bowling because “it’s hanging out with people.”
Croop, 12, of Tunkhannock, has also been at the school since 2012. She loves the bowling, too. “It’s super fun and I get to hang out with friends after school.”
Sisters Elena and Jenna Walters were all smiles as they bowled together. Elena, 10 ½, and Jenna 9 1/2, are from Dallas. They attended Rock Solid last year but this year is their first year bowling.
When asked about the activity, they said “Awesome!” in tandem.
Elena said, “It’s fun to do.” She said she had been to Back Mountain Bowl before and has had birthday parties there.
Both girls are in Jared Vedro’s class at the school. Vedro, also called Mr. V. by students, teaches a multi-level fourth, fifth and sixth-grade class so both sisters are in class together all day.
The girls chose to bowl together after schoolr.
Few of the students seemed ready to go when time was called.
It was obvious that bowling time was up too soon for Elena.
She asked Vedro, “It’s been an hour, Mr. V.?”