On April 12th, Kenmore Middle School in Arlington, VA received the honor of becoming an ESPN Top 5 Special Olympics Unified Champion School. In order to become a Special Olympics Unified Champion School® with national banner recognition, a school must exemplify ten standards of excellence in the areas of Special Olympics Unified Sports®, Inclusive Youth Leadership, Whole School Engagement and Sustainability. Out of all of the Unified Champion Schools in the country, 30 are selected to be on ESPN’s Honor Roll and from there the list is narrowed down to five.
From ESPN Radio, Mike Golic Jr. joined the celebrations as the emcee of the event. Also in attendance were representatives from Special Olympics Virginia, U.S. Department of Education, Arlington County Sheriff’s Office, Arlington County Public Schools and ESPN.
As the first middle school to receive this honor, every member of the Kenmore community played a role in making the day incredible. To start the presentation ceremony, the Arlington County Sheriff’s Department and the Kenmore Unified basketball team entered with the torch. Remarks were given by Kenmore faculty, Arlington County representatives, and Unified pairs. One Unified partner Charlotte explained, “without inclusion, Special Olympics wouldn’t be special”. After Kenmore’s Unified club received awards from the school, the school’s banner was revealed to much enthusiasm. The amazing afternoon ended with a performance from the cheer squad, and a Unified basketball game which showed both determination and sportsmanship.
Three million young people participate in 6,500 Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® across the US with support from the US Office of Special Education Programs at the US Department of Education. These young people make up the Unified Generation. They are taking personal ownership within their schools and communities to ensure that everyone has the right to play, learn and live together through shared leadership opportunities of students with and without intellectual disabilities. To learn more about the Unified Generation, visit: https://www.generationunified.org/