Bulldog Crew Creates A Friendly Environment For All

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Bulldog Crew Creates A Friendly Environment For All

Sophomores Pranathi Kollolli and Joshua Ong celebrate at one of the football games this year. The pair were members of the marching band pit section this year and spent time working together, playing cymbals, and enjoying the experience

Sophomores Pranathi Kollolli and Joshua Ong celebrate at one of the football games this year. The pair were members of the marching band pit section this year and spent time working together, playing cymbals, and enjoying the experience

Photo Courtesy of Pranathi Kollolli

Sophomores Pranathi Kollolli and Joshua Ong celebrate at one of the football games this year. The pair were members of the marching band pit section this year and spent time working together, playing cymbals, and enjoying the experience

Photo Courtesy of Pranathi Kollolli

Photo Courtesy of Pranathi Kollolli

Sophomores Pranathi Kollolli and Joshua Ong celebrate at one of the football games this year. The pair were members of the marching band pit section this year and spent time working together, playing cymbals, and enjoying the experience

Simrat Singh, Sports Editor

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As sounds of different buddies and students joyously talking, playing games, and interacting filled rooms 907 and 908 during the weekly Monday meeting of Bulldog Crew, sophomore Pranathi Kollolli could not help but smile as the result of her efforts over the past two years had come to fruition in ways she had never foreseen.

Bulldog Crew serves as an opportunity for students to bond with their individual buddies in the special needs program, providing both groups with life-changing bonds.

“I created Bulldog Crew as an effort to bridge the gap between high school students and special education students,” Kollolli said. “I contacted the special education teachers on campus, Mrs. Shaffer and later Mrs. Resendez, and I told them about my idea, and they immediately supported it.”

Bulldog Crew has fostered a unique environment on campus where special education students and students alike have found a comfortable and welcoming environment. Each student is paired with a buddy that is deemed a personality fit based on a compatibility test and through this begin to create a bigger relationship through lunchtime experiences.

“People should know that kindness can travel a long way and that the one day you spend with your buddy every week will remain with you for your lifetime. People should know that even at first if things are a little rough and hard, working through it can allow both you and the buddy to gain invaluable life experiences.””

— Pranathi Kollolli

“My buddy is Joshua Ong,” junior Neha Scott said. “Whenever I see him on campus and during Bulldog Crew, it brightens my day. He’s such a happy person all the time, and it radiates to everyone around him.”

For many of the buddies and the students, the bond that they create has been instantaneous and momentous for them. Every week they interact creates a bright spot by providing someone that the two can help share and endure the stresses of high school together, according to Scott.

“So I’ve been in Buddy Crew since freshman year in high school and I have met so many new friends and teachers,” sophomore buddy Joshua Ong said. “In Buddy Crew we get to know more students from Portola High School which is important.”

When she created the club back in her freshman year, Kollolli said she was hopeful that it would become something that people became more involved in because of how beneficial the experiences can be for both sides. The club has seen a rise in membership as there is a considerable amount of freshman who have chosen to get involved.

“From this club, I have learned to become a more inclusive and compassionate person. I have also learned there is more to people than how they seem. The club is not only meant for buddies to gain anything but for students as well,” Kollolli said. “People should know that kindness can travel a long way and that the one day you spend with your buddy every week will remain with you for your lifetime. People should know that even at first if things are a little rough and hard, working through it can allow both you and the buddy to gain invaluable life experiences.”