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Wayland Middle School excited about new Gaga ball pit

A recent grant from the Wayland Public Schools Foundation funded the new dodgeball-like play area.

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WAYLAND, MA — A trendy new playground game has arrived at Wayland Middle School and students are already going crazy for it.

Wayland Middle School interim principal Tyler Steffey and head custodian Kevin MacNeil set up the new Gaga Ball court last week, funded by a $6,000 grant from the Wayland Public Schools Foundation. The court allows students to play a new type of dodgeball that is safer and more equitable for students of all ages and sizes.

On Friday, new sixth-graders Harper Ramsey and Mirabell Moran cut a ribbon and officially welcomed the Gaga Ball Pit to the middle school. Also in attendance were Assistant Principal Eliabeth Castella and Wayland Public Schools Foundation members Lia Barris and President Blair Ramsey.

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“The goal of the Gaga Ball Pit is to connect our students’ elementary school experience with their middle school experience. When Mr. MacNeil and I were putting this together one day, a student came out and shouted, ‘Oh my God! This is my childhood!’ That was my goal,” Steffey said.

The rules of Gaga Ball involve players trying to eliminate each other by kicking or hitting a ball into the other players below the knees. Like dodgeball, the last person standing wins. The game has become increasingly popular in recent years and Wayland has a Gaga Ball pool on the town beach.

The Wayland Public Schools Foundation supplements individual schools’ budgets with grants for activities and special programs. The nonprofit awarded about $100,000 in grants for 15 projects in advance of the 2024-25 school year, including cameras for the Wayland High School Field House, a Spanish-English communication board at Loker Playground and more.