Special Olympics Michigan (SOMI) athletes and Unified Partners will take to the court Wednesday, February 9 at Howell High School to celebrate their achievements in promoting inclusion. During the Unified Basketball game (7:00 p.m. tipoff), the team will be awarded a banner at halftime to hang in the gymnasium that recognizes their work in creating an equal playing field amongst their peers in and outside of the classroom. Unified sports teams are made up of athletes with and without intellectual disabilities.
Howell High School has been named a National Banner Special Olympics Unified Champion School® by Special Olympics International demonstrating a commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 standards of excellence. They have created an environment that exudes a sense of collaboration, engagement, and respect for all members of the student body and staff. Howell High School was named an ESPN Top 30 Unified Champion School for the 2019-2020 school year.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to be a part of the Unified Champion Schools (UCS) program at Howell High School,” said Susie Mitchell, Howell High School Teacher. “As a coach, I love seeing the relationships develop between players and partners as each season progresses. The UCS program brings together students that may have never had the opportunity to meet in the past. The friendships that develop are magical. Professionally, UCS has been the highlight of my career.”
The Unified basketball game and banner presentation comes in anticipation of the 2022 Special Olympics Unified Cup. In July, Special Olympics announced Detroit as the host city of the Unified Cup 2022. The Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022 will be the second-ever global football (soccer) tournament. The uniquely inclusive Unified format challenges stigma geared towards people with intellectual disabilities and demonstrates how competing together breaks down barriers to create a community of acceptance.
Special Olympics Michigan will leverage nearly 300 Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® and 36 community-based programs active across the state to expand Unified Sports among youth and adults with and without intellectual disabilities. The Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022 will invite the world to challenge inactivity and intolerance and join Special Olympics athletes on and off the field.
Additional Michigan schools will be named Unified Champion Schools in the coming months. For more information or to get involved, click here.