Cricket a 'hit' at AIC
ALBANY, N.Y. (May 15, 2019) – When
the district’s 175 immigrant and refugee students first enroll at
Albany International Center (AIC), it’s likely almost everything at
their new school is different from what they were accustomed to before they moved to New
language, food, celebrations, climate, subjects and
lessons and even other students and the teachers, seem completely foreign and new.
But one of the May units in Physical Education at AIC is very familiar
to many of the students because it’s a sport popular around the world
but not as much in the United States: cricket.
“Reminds me of home a lot,” said AIC sixth-grader Shamsullah Zadran,
pictured above right, who
was born in Afghanistan.
When playing cricket, Zadran definitely stands out. He bats, runs and
fields confidently and his facial expressions alternate between intense
concentration and pure joy. He jokes with friends and offers tips on the
sport to those less familiar with it in both English and Pashto, his
“It’s my favorite game.”
A cricket unit is being taught in physical education in all 18 district
schools for the first time this year and it’s just one more way the
district is offering students culturally relevant education.
“It’s so important to incorporate our students’ backgrounds into all of
our curriculum, not just academics. The kids are loving this P.E. unit
and the teachers have enjoyed learning more about a sport that may be
new to them, too,” explains Kathy Ryan, Director of Health, Physical
Education and Athletics.
Though less than at other schools throughout the district, there is
still a mix of cricket knowledge in the middle and high school P.E.
classes at AIC. But what one student lacks in experience, he or she
makes up for in fun. A first-time whack by someone new to the sport gets
as much applause from classmates as a veteran player’s strong and
“It is a good sport and I know how to play. The running and the catching
are familiar,” added Javeb Arab, a ninth grade Pashto speaker from
Pakistan (bottom picture).
Helping students from diverse backgrounds feel welcome in Albany is a
number one priority for all administrators, teachers and support staff
and the physical education team appreciates being part of their
adjustment to life in the United States and creating a valuable
“I enjoy hearing about the students' prior cricket experience in
the countries from which they immigrated. It’s also a sport that
students are able to master quickly so someone who has never played
before can step right in and also enjoy participating,” said P.E.
teacher Tom Murley.
The mission of
the City School District of Albany is
to work in partnership with our diverse community to engage every
learner in a robust educational program designed to provide the
knowledge and skills necessary for success. The district
than 9,300 students in 18 elementary, middle and high schools. In
addition to neighborhood schools, the district includes several magnet
schools and programs, as well as other innovative academic opportunities
for students, including four themed academies
at Albany High School.