Lake Havasu High School Awarded For Inclusive Program

 

Lake Havasu High School has been honored as one of seven out of 250 to be awarded as a “Banner School” by the Unified Sports program through Special Olympics.

Friday, the school celebrated with a unified day where general education and special education students mixed and mingled and participated in six different activities.

Marie Timmons, is the Student Transition Coordinator at LHHS and sponsor of the Shining Stars club – whose members are mentors and mentees in the Unified Sports program.

“General ed kids are mentors and special ed kids as those being trained but they all think they are  all mentors which is really kinda cool,” Timmons said.

Students paint at one of the six stations Friday during the Youth Summit. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

“Today we are having a unified day bringing everyone together. We are one for the first in the state. We have six different events where everyone can come together. The special needs students actually earn a school athletic letter just like they were playing regular sports. The general ed students play along with special needs students. The other students get to help them along as they play, and they try to make sure they’re all included and successful if they’re out on the field. We accommodate them and that’s what these kids have learned to do to help them along, mentor them and make sure they succeed,” Timmons said.

Lake Havasu High School has been named one of the Banner Schools in Arizona. Banner Schools must meet 10 criteria, and LHHS has met those criteria. “We’ve done some events like they’ll put on a basketball competition in front of the whole school and we also do stuff where the unified sports plays against the teachers,” Timmons said.

“We had to make sure that we could continue on. My classroom serves coffee to the staff, so we do that and we have fundraisers that help pay for trips we take after school and to help make sure the Special Olympics continue on.

Students play basketball during the Youth Summit on Friday afternoon at LHHS. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

According to the Special Olympics Unified Sports website, the program is “dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences, Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.

In Unified Sports, teams are made up of people of similar age and ability, which makes practices morefun and games more challenging and exciting for all. Having sport in common is just one more way that preconceptions and false ideas are swept away.

Our opponent is intolerance. Only shoulder-to-shoulder, as teammates together, can we defeat it.”

Special Olympics is dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences. Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.

In Unified Sports, teams are made up of people of similar age and ability. That makes practices more fun and games more challenging and exciting for all. Having sport in common is just one more way that preconceptions and false ideas are swept away.”

In addition to LHHS, the other Arizona schools in the Class of 2017 National Banner Unified Champion Schools includes Hopi Jr/Sr High School, Marana High School, Mountain View HS, Raymond S Kellis High School, Sunrise Mountain High School and Verrado High School.

Students and mentors pose for a photo during the Youth Summit at LHHS. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

 

LHHS Little Knights preschool students play games with the LHHS students during the Youth Summit. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

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