RHS Inclusion Week

Feature+Photo+by+Brianna+Sanchez+-+Freshman+Jordan+Lewis+leads+a+cheer+before+the+Unified+Basketball+game+on+Tuesday.+%28Brianna+Sanchez%29

Feature Photo by Brianna Sanchez - Freshman Jordan Lewis leads a cheer before the Unified Basketball game on Tuesday. (Brianna Sanchez)

Brianna Sanchez and Ruth Kussa

Inclusion week is dedicated to embracing or creating a culture of acceptance at Rangeview High School. We celebrate and bring awareness to inclusion at Rangeview to help others with different ethnic backgrounds, people with disabilities, or people who can feel left out, feel welcomed. 

MONDAY: Assembly

Rangeview began Diversity/Inclusion week with an assembly where students represented the great amount of diversity at school. Diversity/Inclusion week is also a way to get people to understand other cultures and get the word out about acceptance between one another. 

Rangeview Sophomores, Ramon Degaldo and Dey Garcia performed a choreographed dance to a song from the movie, Grease. Junior Mariel Navarro commented on their performance, saying, “I thought that they had amazing choreo and it’s something very unique; out of all assemblies, I’ve never seen one like it.” (Serenity Monroe)

Unified, which emcompasses students with intelectual disabilities, was well represented this year, by having a choreographed performance and a speaker talk about why it’s important to include others as well as showcase their amazing talents. Student services teacher and unified coach, Warner felt especially happy about how inclusion started off saying, “I really liked that we were included in the kick-off assembly. We haven’t had the platform where we could share our message with the entire student body before, so that was nice.”

Score A Friend, a club that promotes inclusion around the nation, had its founder, Sara Greichen, speak to students about her brother Jacob who has an Autism Spectrum Disorder and how important inclusion is for students with disabilities. Rangeview started its own Score A Friend Club this year, allowing all students to come together and provide awareness about inclusion. (Serenity Monroe)

Unified Kickball

After the assembly, Inclusion week’s first event was Unified Kickball against the Aurora Police Department in the Large Gym. The evening was full of fun and excitement among the officers and students. Events such as Unified Kickball allow for students to socialize with others in their community while having fun.

Aiden Ramirez barely touches home base while his teammates cheer in the stands. (Brianna Sanchez)

TUESDAY: Unified Basketball Game vs. Central

Rangeview also has Unified sports teams where students both with and without disabilities come together and practice sportsmanship throughout their games. Senior Brian Tran participates in unified lacrosse, flag football, and basketball and enjoys being part of such an inclusive team saying, “The reason why I like playing sports is because I think it’s helping the other kids with disabilities get along with others.”

Before beginning the game, the APD and Unified players form a circle and introduce themselves. (Brianna Sanchez)

 

WEDNESDAY: National Inclusion Day

Throughout the week, inclusion shirts were sold for $7 for students to wear on National Inclusion Day. Along with the shirt, students were able to sign a pledge to “look for the lonely, the isolated, the left out, the challenged, and the bullied” and choose to include. Students who signed, also received a unified bracelet to show their support.

The Unified Banner is seen being rolled up as National Inclusion Day comes to a close. Though Wednesday was dedicated towards inclusion all around the nation, inclusion is an act that should be seen 365 days every year. (Brianna Sanchez)

FRIDAY: Unified Prom 

Rangeview also hosts Unified Prom to allow students with intellectual disabilities to socialize and have fun with other students. What makes Unified Prom special is the activities that are available to students: from a photo booth, to snacks, and even performances from their fellow peers. This year’s theme was Super Hero, which allowed students to dress up in fun costumes and dance the night away. 

From left to right, students, Erin Weaver, Geneva Martinez Mejia, Neissie Bradney, and Gabby Gurrola smile for a picture at the photobooth at Unified Prom. (Rangeview Unified Facebook)

“My favorite event was Unified Prom. I loved seeing students prepare their proposals and engage with their typical peers in a way that makes them feel so confident and included,” said Ms. Warner. “You see barriers broken down…people don’t care about superficial things, and are just there to have fun and make the experience enjoyable for everyone there. It’s very priceless and touching to see.” 

At the end of the day, students got the chance to create memories with people from different backgrounds and different stories. This allowed for all students of Rangeview to become a family and support awareness about inclusion. Ms. Warner recaps on this year’s inclusion week, saying, “Now we just need more interest from the student population – that’s who can ignite the most change. If there is student demand for inclusive programming at RHS, that is really when big things can happen.” Inclusion week helped students get a better perspective about others and it also grew the culture of acceptance at Rangeview.