This article was contributed by Adam Breen, San Benito High School Communications Director.
In recognition of its commitment to provide an accepting and inclusive campus for students, San Benito High School has been recognized as a “Unified Champion School” through the Special Olympics Northern California.
The school will be presented with a banner on May 10 and has been awarded $550 in funding for this school year because it provides inclusive sports and whole-school involvement activities such as Gifted Soccer, Gifted Cheer, the Gifted Games, Circle of Friends and more.
Among its many inclusive programs, SBHS offers a Life Skills Prom, has a peer helpers program and has Circle of Friends make Ability Awareness Presentations to all freshmen in Biology classes early in the school year.
The Gifted Cheer team, consisting of Life Skills students and with the help of the Baler cheerleading squads, performs at rallies, football games and basketball games. Circle of Friends also sponsors Ability Awareness Week in May.
“San Benito High School has demonstrated everything that Special Olympics Unified Sports aims to accomplish; giving youth the power to be leaders of change in their campus communities,” said Cameron Ahmadian, the area and regional unified sports manager of the Special Olympics Northern California Schools Partnership Program. “SBHS, through Gifted Soccer and their other inclusive campus activities, is a campus that gives students of all abilities an equal chance to participate in various campus activities," she said.
“The SBHS staff has been excellent in their support of the students,” Ahmadian added, noting that Special Olympics has plans to collaborate with the school to “explore the addition of new Unified sports to go along with soccer.”
In an email to staff, SBHS District Trustee Juan Robledo offered his congratulations to the staff and students involved in earning this recognition.
“I am very impressed with the teamwork demonstrated to place SBHS in this worthy endeavor,” he said. “Inclusion, acceptance and understanding are goals I hope will continue at our high school and our community. Thank you for all the work, fund and love you’ve all added to make this award possible.”