At Smith County High School, our students have a history of inclusion. They have always, in any way they could, included our special needs students in the activities of the school. They have done such a good job of inclusion that I don’t think about including my students. I know they will be included just because they are students at Smith County High School.
Beginning the school year, the kids whip themselves into a fury of excitement for the cross-county rivalry football game. Imagine their excitement when they came into our classroom, which was all decked out in black and gold, not by me, but by the cheerleaders, because they heard we were having a tailgate party. No one asked them to do this, they did it just because they wanted to.
Our involvement with Tennessee Special Olympics has our students competing in many different sports. They participate in flag football, bowling, basketball, volleyball, track and field, bocce ball, and power lifting. Their coaches are their Peer Partners. Do we recruit the students to come be Peer Partners and Special Olympics coaches? No, they ask to be included with our Special Olympians. Inclusion at Smith County High School works two ways.
About Lisa Hembree: I am a teacher and Special Olympics Coach. I have been involved with the program for approximately 30 years.