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Wilmington educator runs at home for Special Olympics

Diana Hill is a Special Education teacher at Wilmington High School and a co-organizer of the Wilmington and Burlington Unified School Day Games which typically happens each spring. Unfortunately due to Covid- 19 the School Day Games, which would have celebrated its fourth year, was cancelled. Although Hill was at home and not organizing the event for her students, she still wanted to find a way to be involved with Special Olympics. When the Run, Bike, Walk program was announced in July she jumped on board and has already surpassed her $1,000 fundraising goal! “I love this organization and…

Author: Catherine Twing

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Unified Sports in Schools

Unified sports is a program that allows students with disabilities to get involved in sports as well as interact with students who do not have a disability. Unified Sports in schools, high schools, middle schools, or elementary schools is the kind of program that can make a student with a disability feel included, spread awareness, and help change the life of any athlete that participates on the program. In 2016, my alma mater, Auburn High School, established their Unified Sports program to help promote inclusion and respect for their students who have an intellectual or physical disability. The program…

Author: Catherine Twing

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Unified Champion Schools receive One Small Candle Award

On November 23rd Plymouth 400 Inc. held its 5th annual Illuminate Thanksgiving program. This year’s theme was inclusion. “This inspirational event celebrates youth, inclusivity and the act of giving thanks by giving back to your community and to the world around you,” according to a press release from organizers. The event includes a presentation of “Who Illuminates Your Life” essay contest winners and the “One Small Candle” award ceremony. This award is presented to an individual or group who touches the lives of many and this year the award went to Special Olympics Massachusetts and the Unified Sports teams…

Author: Catherine Twing

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Unified Champion Schools Spirit Contest!

We have challenged all 100+ Unified Champion Schools in Massachusetts to show us their school spirit! Each school received two posters to proudly display, recognizing that they are a Unified Champion School. You can learn more about Unified Champion Schools on our website! We received many fantastic entries, but had to choose just a few finalists. Now it’s your turn to choose our winning school! Visit our poll to cast your vote. You can vote once per day. The winning school will be announced on Monday October 28th, 2019 and will receive a pep rally kit! Join our schools…

Author: Catherine Twing

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Youth Leaders take Hyannisport

In July, several youth leaders from Massachusetts had the opportunity to attend an invite only 50th anniversary event hosted by Special Olympics International at the Kennedy Compound in Hyannisport. Part of this weekend included a youth summit where they met fellow youth leaders, educators, celebrities and Special Olympics staff, all on a mission to make schools more inclusive. The youth leaders from Massachusetts, Bryna St. Pierre, Emma Ganley, Elyse Whittemore and Sydney Meininger joined students from many other states to share ideas about how they can make their communities more inclusive and realizing how much power they have as…

Author: Catherine Twing

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2019 National Banner Schools Announced

This year, 16 Massachusetts High Schools have received the honor of being called a National Banner School. These schools have met or exceeded national standards of excellence in the areas of Unified sports, whole school engagement and inclusive youth leadership. They join a group of 10 Massachusetts schools which received this honor in 2018. These schools will be presented with a banner to hang in their school and be included on a list of other schools around the country who have achieved this distinguished status. Once a school has become a Unified Champion School they are eligible to apply…

Author: Catherine Twing

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2019 Gatorade Player of the Year

TABOR ACADEMY STUDENT-ATHLETE AWARDS SPECIAL OLYMPICS MASSACHUSETTS GRANT THROUGH GATORADE Hingham, Mass. native and Massachusetts Girls Soccer Gatorade State Player of the Year, Cat Barry awarded Special Olympics Massachusetts with a $1,000 grant to help accomplish our mission of providing inclusive sports competition and leadership opportunities throughout the state. Barry is a rising senior at Tabor Academy in Marion, and plays for the NEFC in the Development Academy. Going into her senior year, she already has 61 goals and 32 assists during her NEPSAC career, including several en route to the Seawolves’ Class A championship win over Thayer Academy…

Author: Catherine Twing

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Unified sports is more than competition

There are few moments that match the excitement of representing your school and hometown at a State Championship. On Wednesday May 29, 2019, students from 54 Massachusetts schools had the opportunity at the 2019 MIAA Unified Track & Field state meet. While 54 schools were represented at States, this was a record year with 81 Massachusetts schools participating in Unified Track & Field locally this season. On a chilly late-May day at Milford High School, athletes and Unified partners competed side by side in track and field events including javelin, long jump, shot put, 100m dash, 400m dash and relays….

Author: Catherine Twing

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Youth Ambassador has eye-opening experience at Schools Conference

Elyse Whittemore is a junior at Auburn High School and was selected as a 2019 Special Olympics U.S. Youth Ambassador. She attended the Special Olympics Schools Conference in San Diego California, February 2019 along with fellow Youth Ambassador Sydney Meininger and their mentor Alison Deluca. Wow.  The only word to describe the 2019 Unified Champion Schools Conference in San Diego, California.  The experience of attending this conference was eye-opening, life changing, and one I, along with my fellow Youth Leaders will never forget.  The Youth Leader portion of the conference was three days long and packed with workshops, general…

Author: Catherine Twing

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Massachusetts students named US Youth Ambassadors

Two Massachusetts students have been selected as part of the 2019 Class of Unified Champion Schools US Youth Ambassadors. Sydney Meininger and Elyse Whittemore were selected to be a part of the Youth Ambassador Initiative along with 10 other young adults with and without intellectual disabilities from across the country. These passionate leaders will receive training, speak at events and conferences, as well as explore topics that will inspire new ideas to promote inclusion. Both Sydney and Elyse, along with Mentor Ali Deluca of Auburn High School, will be traveling to San Diego in February for leadership training with…

Author: Catherine Twing

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