The Woodstock Academy’s Unified Sports program has been named a 2017 Unified Champion Banner School by Special Olympics International. The Academy was recognized on Friday, Dec. 9, at the Unified Leadership Summit at Aetna in Hartford.
Special Olympics Connecticut and the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) combined to make Connecticut one of the first states in the country to participate in the Banner Unified Champion School program.
“I am very proud of our athletes and coaches for the hard work that they have put in to make our Unified Sports program a model for others to follow,” said WA Athletics Director Aaron Patterson. “We are thankful to be recognized for our efforts. Our Unified Sports team has brought value and joy to our institution and it has helped create a culture of acceptance. We are truly blessed to have this program at our school.”
According to the CIAC, to qualify for recognition, a Banner Unified Champion School must: have Unified Sports team(s) that participate(s) in at least two sports seasons; demonstrate Inclusive Youth Leadership; demonstrate Whole School Engagement; and ensure sustainability.
Schools honored receive a large banner that reads “Special Olympics Unified Champion School” and a sticker for that given year. The banners also include open space for future year stickers.
The Woodstock Academy has three unified sports seasons involving 11 unified sports athletes and more than 60 partners that help throughout the year. The Academy offers indoor soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, and kickball and bowling in the spring.
Photo Caption: Members of The Woodstock Academy Unified Sports program display their Special Olympics Unified Champion School banner with Headmaster Chris Sandford (far right), Director of Athletics Aaron Patterson (far left), coach Yori Ayotte (third from left), and team manager Robin Smith (second from right).