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Giants to participate in Unified Game Day (5/10)

Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News Select Marion Community Schools students in grades kindergarten through eight will be participating next month in Unified Game Day, a Special Olympics-style friendly competition in a variety of unified track and field events.

Unified Game Day will be hosted by the Grant County Special Education Cooperative, of which Marion Community Schools is a member. The event will be at Taylor University from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 10. The day will begin with an opening ceremony, and student competition is set to begin at 10 a.m. Parents, school supporters, and community members are invited to cheer on our young athletes!



More information, provided by GCSEC:

Grant County Special Education Co-op and Taylor University are working together this school year to engage students in activities designed to promote school communities where young people are agents of change — fostering respect, dignity, and advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities. Through this program, known as Unified Champion Schools, children of all abilities are provided opportunities to develop self-confidence and social skills while learning the fundamentals necessary for future participation in Unified Sports training and competition.

Grant County Special Education Co-op is among hundreds of preschools, elementary, middle, and high schools across the state to embrace Special Olympics’ innovative approach to improving social inclusion while simultaneously developing motor skills through curricula which aligns with Indiana State educational standards.

The annual culmination of all Unified Champion Schools programs is one or more Unified Game Day, held each spring and featuring a Special Olympics-style competition in a variety of unified track and field events. Grant County Special Education Co-op will host its Game Day May 10, 2019 at Taylor University this year. From 10am through 2pm students will be engaged in highly competitive events with their age appropriate peers. Various levels of “heats” have been created to ensure student athletes are participating with others who have a similar skill set. 

“Indiana has been recognized as a national leader in the realm of Special Olympics’ Unified Sports and social inclusion initiatives, and it’s thanks in large part to the support of faculty, administrators, and students in hundreds of schools throughout the state,” said Special Olympics Indiana President and CEO Jeff Mohler. “The Special Olympics movement is still about sports — but it’s also about changing the way the world sees people with intellectual disabilities by targeting younger generations through programs like Unified Champion Schools.”

According to Lisa Graham, Executive Director of the Grant County Special Education Co-op, this event was so successful last year with all five districts in the county participating. Our county, with each of the 5 districts competing together, operates much like an athletic tournament or Grant Four-type competition. It has all of the components that make athletics a reason to participate: sportsmanship, teamwork, competitiveness, high energy, friendship and thrilling outcomes!

Hundreds of athletes from Grant County in grades Pre-K through 8th are expected to participate in this year’s event. The preschool students will be competing at their local schools while the older students will be together on May 10th at the George Glass Track and Field Complex. The day will begin at 9:30 a.m. with community, parents and school supporters invited. Beginning with an opening ceremony featuring a Law Enforcement Torch Run by officers from the University Police Department and firemen from the Upland Volunteer Fire Department, each district will parade around the track to start the festivities and open up the day’s competition.

Special Olympics Indiana’s Unified Champion Schools initiatives are supported in part by the Indiana Council of Administrators of Special Education (ICASE), the Indiana Middle Level Education Association (IMLEA), and — through a partnership known as Champions Together — the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA).

Click here to learn more about Unified Champion Schools. For more information about the implementation of these programs in Indiana schools, contact state Director of Unified Champion Schools Mark Booth at mbooth@soindiana.org.

ABOUT SPECIAL OLYMPICS INDIANA
Special Olympics Indiana is a not-for-profit organization that provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in more than 20 Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, reaching more than 14,000 athletes across Indiana. The organization receives no federal or state appropriated funds, is not a United Way agency, and relies entirely on corporate, civic and individual donations.  For more information about Special Olympics Indiana, call (317) 328-2000 or visit www.soindiana.org.

ABOUT UNIFIED CHAMPION SCHOOLS
Special Olympics’ Unified Champion Schools program is defined as a pre-school, primary school, secondary school, college, or university offering Unified Sports® opportunities to its students across the world. Unified Champion Schools programming is designed to facilitate Special Olympics Unified Sports®, provide classroom and community experiences that reduce bullying and exclusion, promote healthy activities, combat stereotypes and negative attitudes, eliminate hurtful language in schools, and engage young people in activities that lead to improved behavior and school climate.

For more information about Grant County Special Education Cooperative, contact Lisa Graham, Director, at lisa_graham@olemiss.k12.in.us or 765-677-4456