Bowling bros

Nathan Franz and Jared Gies became friends through their sport.

Seniors Nathan Franz and Jared Gies have been friends since their sophomore year, when they both joined North Platte High School’s unified bowling team. “We got to know each other and then the second year of unified bowling, which was this last year, our junior year, once again, him and I bowled on the same team,” Franz said. Unified Bowling is a sport that has combined teams with students with and without intellectual disabilities. This allows student to get to know other people they may not have had the chance to meet before.

Gies was chosen to have a youth leadership experience at the USA Games in Seattle. For this leadership experience, Gies had the opportunity to choose a partner. “We just know they chose Jared, and Jared chose me,” Franz said, “It was a really cool opportunity to go to Seattle and represent Nebraska.”

At the USA Games, Gies and Franz got to meet people like Tim Shriver, the son of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who founded the Special Olympics in 1968. “[Meeting Dr. Shriver] was awesome!” Gies said. Gies and Franz also participate in other sports, such as track, in the Special Olympics.

NPHS’s unified bowling team has previously done well. “We got runner-up at districts last year, and we’re looking to win this year,” Franz said, “A lot of times, people will put the disability before the person and that’s not okay. You get to know these kids, these guys, and they’re the coolest people. It’s one of those things where nobody even knows it exists, but we’re here every Wednesday for months. It’s something to get involved and have fun.”