Unified Champion Schools Overview

Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools (formerly known as Project UNIFY Schools) bring youth with and without intellectual disabilities together through sports and education to create school communities of acceptance and respect. Unified Champion Schools are seen through every level of education (Pre-K/Head Start through college) and are driven by youth and staff leaders. View the Unified Champion Schools Impact Statement.

Special Olympics North Carolina has over 260 official Unified Champion Schools across the state. Are you ready to join the movement?

2016-2017 Unified Champion School Commitment

To be an official Unified Champion School, a school must be committed to do the following:

  • Identify at least 1 student liaison and 1 staff liaison (educator, counselor, etc.) to lead the Unified Champion School efforts
  • Start an inclusive Unified Club (for students with and without intellectual disabilities) within the school
  • Offer a Unified Sport in at least 1 season during the school year
  • Identify an adult coach (for each sport offered) to complete the online Coaching Special Olympics Unified Sports Certification (contact your Youth Initiatives Director for the link and code)
  • Host at least 2 whole-school engagement activities per school year
  • Complete the mid-term and final report for SONC and the end of the year staff liaison survey

Recent News

2016 NCHSAA Conference Attendees

Youth leaders from Special Olympics North Carolina (SONC) joined students representing the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) July 18-20 in Indianapolis for the National Federation of State High School Associations National Student Leadership Summit to focus on relevant and contemporary issues affecting today’s students in education-based athletics and performing arts. Read more.


Students at the 2017 UCS Rally

Hundreds of students and educators from Unified Champion Schools across North Carolina came together in Downtown Raleigh for Spread the Word to End the Word International Awareness Day. Watch the video recapping the 2017 SONC Unified Champion Schools Rally here.


Contact Us

Kelly Merkl (West)


Get Started

Learn more about how to make your school an official Unified Champion School! Download a Special Olympics NC Unified Champion Schools Toolkit!

Interested in becoming a Unified Champion School for the 2016-2017 school year? Apply today! 2016-2017 Participation Form

Want to know what schools participated last year? Find the full list of 2015-2016 schools here!