RHS Unified wins Unified program of the year

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VeThalia Warren, Review Staff

Feature Photo By: Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE- Rangeview Unified team stood for the national anthem before they took on Smoky Hill High School at the Pepsi Center.

 

Rangeview’s Unified program got awarded Unified Program of the year by Chaka Sutton,

the vice president of Special Olympics Colorado.

 

The vice president stated, “Due to all their great work Rangeview has done the past year with such exemplary manner”.

 

The vice president also mentioned the Unified Program will be awarded at their Hall of Fame luncheon in October.

 

“I feel extremely happy. I feel like people don’t think about the unified team. But they’re normal people just like us too,” stated junior Breanna Wilson.” Any championship is an amazing one, and I’m so so happy that they won! Just proves Rangeview is the best!”

 

According to Ms.Warner, the Rangeview Unified program has participated in a numerous amount of events through the 2018-2019 school year. Some of the work they have done this past year included:

  • Rangeview Unified entered this school year after representing the Colorado Rapids as their Major League Soccer Works Unified Team over the summer of 2018. RHS students with and without disabilities were able to sign with the Colorado Rapids, receive official kits and bags, use the Rapids’ changing room, practice on their field, play at Dick’s Sporting Goods Stadium, and travel with the Rapids to DC, where the students were able to tour the National Mall and  stay in a hotel together.

 

  • RHS had representation at the state level for Special Olympics this year when two students, junior, Neissie Bradney, and senior, Michael Shumake, joined the Special Olympics Colorado Youth Activation Committee – This committee collaborates with other youth leaders from around the state to determine how to promote inclusion for people with disabilities in their schools and committees.

 

  • RHS hosted the Youth Leadership Summit for Special Olympics Colorado, where schools around the state gathered here to learn about how to make their schools more inclusive for people with disabilities. This session was hosted by Rangeview student leaders Nessie Brandy and Michael Shumake.

 

  • RHS also hosted the Unified Program first ever prom!

 

This was the first year Rangeview programs for students with significant disabilities collaborated with Student Leadership. Ms. Warner stated, “ student leadership developed a committee that would come and socialize with our students in our classrooms and helped them plan some inclusion campaigns this year.”

Rangeview high school student leadership helped raised awareness for people with disabilities by wearing crazy socks on International Day of Persons with Disabilities in December.

In January Michael Shumake was selected by Special Olympics Colorado as the Special Olympics Colorado Male Athlete of the Month.

“I feel really good and connected with players. We are really close, we know each other.” stated, senior, Micheal Shumake.

In March, the Rangeview Unified Program had their first ever Inclusion Week, which Student Leadership helped their students organize to help spread awareness throughout the school about the students with disabilities and provide a more welcoming, and inclusive environment for them. Student Leadership helped them sell their Inclusion T-shirts that whole week.They also had a Staff vs. Unified basketball game after school and the week rounded off into their first ever Unified Prom, followed by some of the students with disabilities getting a chance to go see the Boys Varsity Basketball win the State Championship.

Ms. Warner exclaims,” It was definitely one of the most memorable and exciting weeks any of our students have had.”

Over the course of the year the unified sports program participated in flag football, basketball, and soccer at the regional and state level this year and were recognized at the Boys’ Basketball State Champion Assembly.

Ms. Warner says that Special Olympics has asked her to coach the Rapids Unified team again this upcoming summer. This year they plan to have tryouts; last year, Special Olympics just picked their entire RHS team-  two RHS students (Michael Shumake and Luis Miranda) and two RHS alumni (Arturo Lopez and Nate Wade) made the team.

All of this occurred within this last school year.

 

The Rangeview Unified Soccer Team takes a team photo at the Dicks Sporting Good Stadium before taking on Real Salt Lake.(Oscar Perez)

The unified sports program has also been providing for the RHS community with their recycling program that began 4 years ago, and got the school thousands of dollars as a reward for saving on RHS’ “energy bill”. They used this money to install the drinking station in the cafeteria. They also ran the Environmental Club that year. Since then, they have started Unified Sports, and this year, have collaborated more with general education students to make Rangeview more inclusive in more areas other than sports.

Many students in the unified sports program have earned a Varsity Letter for Unified Sports. Many of them have bought the Letterman jackets to wear. With this many of the students are realizing their passions in the opportunities they now have available. Ms. warner explains how this helps them grow personally as well as academically.

 

In addition, students without disabilities who are able to work with our more significantly impacted students are able to break down misconceptions they may have had about disabilities.

 

With the influence of knowing there are some schools around the nation that have assemblies dedicated solely to the purpose of inclusion, and their unified games are just as popular as their varsity games, the RHS Unified Program would like to get many more students without disabilities involved in the inclusion revolution.

 

The RHS Unified Program advise that they would like to start Unified Cheer, Unified Bowling, and hopefully more sports in the future. Also, would like to see some more unified clubs for students that are interested in things other than sports, such as a a social club like Score a Friend Club.

 

Not only can Ranegview’s after school activities become more inclusive, but it would be beneficial to find a way to include Rangeview students in a wider variety of classes during the day. The more people are exposed to differences in their daily lives, the more flexible, accepting and compassionate they might become. Lastly, the Unified Program  would also like to develop a district-wide committee so the Unified Program can help the Aurora Public School district see the same type of growth in inclusion as the RHS Unified Program have.

 

The RHS Unified Program concluded, “we could not have made all of the growth without the support of Admin like Vic and Tammy Strouse, all of the general education teachers who have learned how to modify content for our students to be included in more general education classes, special education teachers, our student’s’ families, students without disabilities who want to help include our students and find a way to make them feel welcome, and coaches like Mr. Palmer, Mr. Carabello, Mr. Weddle, Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Nelson, Mrs. Ceyrolles, Mr. Dinkel.”