David W. Butler High School in Matthews, North Carolina, was named to the 2019 ESPN Honor Roll, a distinction given to the top Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools programs in each participating state, according to SONC President/CEO Keith L. Fishburne.
The ESPN Honor Roll is part of the network’s Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools National Recognition Program.
“I love this movement and I advocate for my students to be successful leaders of inclusion,” said Unified Club advisor Deborah Deeg. “I am so proud of our Unified Co-Presidents Caitlyn Mahoney and Isaiah Thompson and all of our club members for their genuine dedication and investment to making our school inclusive for all. They really make it happen!”
On September 3, 2019, ESPN recognized 34 schools from across the country for meeting national standards of excellence in the areas of inclusion, advocacy and respect. Selected as the top school in the state of North Carolina, Butler High School earned its place on this year’s ESPN Honor Roll.
Butler High School is among seven Special Olympics North Carolina Unified Champion Schools to have received national banner recognition, an achievement earned by their efforts to provide inclusive sports and activities for students with and without disabilities.
“I am so proud of the work that Coach Deeg and her Unified Club students are currently doing on our campus,” said Principal John LeGrand. “Their collective passion and dedication towards each of our Special Olympics students continues to be an inspiration to me and our entire school. They have truly modeled the concept of inclusivity that we strive to promote on our campus each day.”
The aim of Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools is to incorporate Special Olympics sports, leadership and related activities that empower the youth to be the agents of change in their communities. Thus, the focus shifts from the events to that of a whole school movement for inclusion. Special education and general education students – along with educators and administrators – work together to create supportive classrooms, schoolwide activities and opportunities for growth and success for all.
About David W. Butler High School
David W. Butler High School opened in 1997. Currently, Butler serves 2,100 students and is located in Matthews, a suburban community just east of Charlotte. Butler is a community-based high school named in honor of David W. Butler, an outstanding teacher who perished in a house fire while saving the lives of his family. Today, Butler High School upholds the principles set forth by David W. Butler—dedication, perseverance, and commitment.
About Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools®
Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® is a program for schools Pre-K through university that intentionally promotes meaningful social inclusion by bringing together students with and without intellectual disabilities to create accepting school environments, utilizing three interconnected components: Special Olympics Unified Sports®, inclusive youth leadership, and whole school engagement.
About Special Olympics North Carolina
Since 1968, the organization has used the transformative power of sports to improve the lives of children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Nearly 40,000 athletes in North Carolina inspire thousands of coaches, sports officials, local program committee members and event organizers involved in Special Olympics statewide. SONC offers year-round training and competition in 19 Olympic-type sports on local and state levels as well as health and wellness initiatives to improve the health status and increase access to community health resources for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Youth become agents of change through Unified Champion Schools, an education and sports-based program created by Special Olympics to build an inclusive environment among youth with and without intellectual disabilities as well as empower them to become youth leaders and create change in their community. Visit Special Olympics North Carolina at www.specialolympicsnc.com. Engage with us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.