Six Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® in North Carolina have received national recognition for their commitment to inclusion through the National School Recognition Program. A Special Olympics Unified Champion School has an inclusive school climate and exudes a sense of collaboration, engagement and respect for all members of the student body and staff. A Unified Champion School receiving national banner recognition is one that has demonstrated commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 national standards of excellence. These standards were developed by a national panel of leaders from Special Olympics and the education community.
North Carolina National Banner Unified Champion Schools are:
- University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
- Kennedy Middle School, Mecklenburg County
- Lebanon Road Elementary, Mecklenburg County
- Granite Falls Elementary, Caldwell County
- Sycamore Creek Elementary School, Wake County
- Wake Forest High School, Wake County
Wake Forest High School was also named one of the ESPN Top 5, an honor awarded to five exemplary Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® to have their banner presentations officially presented by ESPN. Special Olympics North America and Special Olympics North Carolina, alongside ESPN’s Jen Lada, honored Wake Forest’s staff and students for choosing to include during a pep rally and champions parade through the school. Unified dance and choir performances along with a PEPI (Physical Education Pupil Instruction) demonstration were highlights of the rally. View photos and the highlight video.
Sycamore Creek Elementary School also held a pep assembly to unveil their banner. The assembly featured video highlights of their Unified club and testimonials from current and previous students. Visitors were also able to watch students participate in Unified yoga and Unified recess. View photos and the highlight video.
Granite Falls Elementary School held their National Banner recognition ceremony in conjunction with a Lunch & Learn, where 11 schools, local Special Olympics Caldwell County leadership and county school officials came to learn about Unified Champions Schools and how they can improve Unified Champion School programming in their schools. The pep assembly highlighted the many inclusive activities taking place in the school: reading buddies, lunch buddies, Polar Plunge, Spread the Word, Unified Talent Show and Unified PE.
The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill received their banner during halftime of the 2018 Special Olympics Unified Sports Rivalry Flag Football game between UNC and North Carolina State University. View photos.
Lebanon Road Elementary and Kennedy Middle School have their banner presentations scheduled for early 2019.