A Unified Front


Photo Credit: Fossil Ridge Unified Sports

Madalynn Lewis

The Fossil Ridge High School Unified Sports Program is truly amazing. Students with disabilities at Fossil are provided the opportunity to play on a team with other students at Fossil. Unified athletes rarely get the chance to play on their school sports teams. Throughout the United States, the Unified Sports program is being incorporated into more and more athletic programs. The mission of the Special Olympics Unified Sports Program is simple: inclusion. By incorporating unified athletes with the general student population, it is much easier to create a community that is accepting of all students.

Fossil Ridge is a certified Unified Champion School. This means that Fossil incorporates Special Olympic Sports and other activities to strengthen high school age students’ experience while encouraging all students to make positive changes throughout the community. This program was designed to incorporate all kinds of students, in a healthy and safe environment.

This program advocates social inclusion in schools to guarantee that the general education and special education students are both presented the opportunity to participate in all activities. Students and teachers are encouraged to work together to create supportive classrooms, and ensure equal opportunities are  available to all students.

I  am very passionate about giving all students equal opportunities, regardless of physical and mental abilities. I went to preschool at Stride Learning Center, a pacesetting school. This means that I actually “set a pace” for students with disabilities to strive towards. I worked hard to be a positive example and leader for those kids. Growing up with kids who have disabilities allowed me to see how unfair the world could be. I strongly believe that the Unified Sports program is a huge step in the right direction for a cohesive community.  

Liam Flake is a student at Fossil Ridge, and was a peer helper during the Unified football season. Liam was happy to speak about the program, stating, “The team environment overall was very cohesive, it felt like a family.”

Please come support the Unified athletes. They deserve to be celebrated among the Fossil Ridge community. Their first basketball game will take place next Wednesday on January 24, at Fort Collins High School at 6:00 pm.