Unified Peer Coaches

How the Unified peer coaches started coaching, and how you can get involved too.


photo by Danny Curran

A graphic depicts profiles of the peer coaches for the Unified students.

by Gabe Mascitti, Reporter

Feb. 7, the Unified Basketball team played against a team of counselors during Seminar for the annual Unified basketball game assembly. The choir sang, the pep band played, and posters waved from the stands on all sides. The crowd cheered as David Keefe ‘23 scored a basket. But did anyone notice the student behind the wheelchair? 

The success of our Unified team is partly thanks to a group of student helpers who push wheelchairs, guide athletes, and give endless support. 

“They are my favorite,” Leanne Mackzum ‘25 said. 

“I think it’s cool,” Jacob Thompson ‘23 said. “There are a couple of people there that I’m friends with that are peer coaches.”

It’s time to meet our Peer Coaches.


[My favorite thing about peer coaching is] the smiles and energy that the Unified kids bring to every single game. ”

— Austin Duris '24

Austin Duris ’24:

Sports: Basketball, kickball, soccer.

Becoming a peer coach: “When I was 13, I needed service hours to be an Eagle Scout, and since my mom worked with SSN kids, she signed me up to volunteer at Unified games.”

Why: “It started out just because I needed service hours, but over time I grew to enjoy it.”

Advice: “You should absolutely do it! There’s no reason that you will leave a Unified game less happy than you entered it. Plus, it’s a great way to get service hours and to meet new people.”

Favorite thing about peer coaching: “The smiles and energy that the Unified kids bring to every single game.”


Tanner Bird ’26:

Sports: Kickball.

Becoming a peer coach: “I talked to Jerome and signed up when there was the big Activity Fair.” 

Why: “Because I thought it would be fun, and a good opportunity. My mom had told me about it.”

Advice: “[Students] should do it, it’s fun.”

Favorite thing about peer coaching: “How happy everyone is.”

Favorite moment: “At the basketball game, when David scored, he said ‘back up’ and had them scoot the basket further.” 


Henry Brant ‘26:

Sports: Basketball, kickball.

Becoming a peer coach: “I just knew Jerome, so I signed up. I also knew Tanner and Mrs. Bird.”

Why: “For something to do. If I wasn’t a peer coach, I’d be playing video games at home.”

Advice: “Do it. It’s fun, and there’s not a lot of peer coaches.”

Favorite thing about being a peer coach: “Beating the guys in basketball during warm-ups, and having fun.”

Favorite moment: “I liked the Seminar game and pushing Sam around.”


[Peer coaching is] really fun and fulfilling.”

— Brodie Lyle '26

Brodie Lyle ‘26:

Sports: Kickball, basketball.

Becoming a peer coach: “I volunteered for it at the Activity Fair.”

Why: “I thought it was pretty fun  and I like volunteering.”

Advice: “They should join. It’s really fun and fulfilling.”

Favorite thing about being a peer coach: “Basketball is really fun, just playing basketball with everyone.”

Favorite moment: “Just when someone makes a far shot from the basket and everyone goes crazy.”


Logan Smart ‘25:

Sports: Kickball.

Becoming a peer coach: “I was a Peer Coach in their P.E. class, and I thought it sounded like a fun idea to go to one of their games, and I enjoyed it.”

Advice: “It’s a really fun thing. All the kids are super nice and fun to be around.”

Favorite thing about being a peer coach: “Just spending time with the kids, seeing them have a lot of fun.”

Favorite moment: “I think it’s fun to go to the assembly, where the entire school is there supporting them.”