A Unified Champion School is a special designation that recognizes a school for its commitment to promoting inclusion, acceptance and meaningful engagement for students with and withoutintellectual and developmental disabilities.
"We’re excited and proud to work with schools like yours that put inclusion first and continue to strive to do more and better," said Caroline Carole, assistant director of programs and Unified Champion Schools at Special Olympics Maine. "Kennebunk High School’s success with UCS is in no small part to yours and the school's dedication to the students and creating a more inclusive environment for all. Thank you for all you have done to embrace the UCS strategy and bring impactful change to your school."
In addition to Kennebunk High School, Special Olympics Maine announced that Scarborough High School, Hampden Academy, Thornton Academy and Scarborough Middle School also achieved Unified Champion status.
The achievement highlights ongoing efforts to promote unity, equality and understanding among students.
Kennebunk High School utilizes unified sports — basketball and bocce — and Unified Club to encourage social inclusion, peer relationships and a sense of belonging among all students, regardless of their abilities. In 2016, Paula Reetz and Joe Schwartzman worked together to bring Unified Basketball to Kennebunk High School. In 2022, with the enthusiastic and ongoing support of students and staff, Unified Bocce and the Unified Club began. The UCS recognition is the result of the Unified Coordinator and KHS teacher Karen Campanella, who applied for the recognition after the completion of the required program components.
This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Kennebunk High School recognized as Unified Champion School