MATTAPOISETT — Superintendent Michael S. Nelson and Principal Michael Devoll are pleased to share that Old Rochester Regional High School has been recognized as an official Special Olympics Massachusetts Unified Champion School following the 2020-2021 school year.
Special Olympics Massachusetts honored the school’s commitment to inclusion and its continuous efforts to provide opportunities and activities for all. The school was honored for embodying what it means to be a Unified Champion School through unified sports, inclusive youth leadership programs and whole-school engagement.
“Along with providing inclusive and individualized education opportunities for our students with disabilities, it’s also important for them to be able to participate in inclusive social events and activities,” Student Services Director Craig Davidson said. “Unified sports are an excellent way for students to get to know each other, and they have a lot of fun participating every year.”
ORRHS offers unified basketball and unified track for boys and girls in all high school grade levels as well as those in the district’s 18-22 program. The unified teams consist of students with disabilities as well as teammates who are partners to support the team and participate alongside their classmates.
“Unified sports are special because they give everyone the opportunity to be part of an amazing program, and we are thrilled to see such high interest each season,” Athletic Director Bill Tilden said. “Unified is a great and representative title for the program because it really has unified the school. The support for our unified teams and athletes during their games is always great to see and gives them a really exciting athletic environment to compete in.”
The unified basketball team is usually made up of teams of 20 or more students and unified track often has 70-80 students participate with some students moving between unified and varsity track. Both teams compete within the South Coast Conference league of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA).
“The unified athletics are special because everyone wins — the athletes win, the student partners win and the whole school community wins,” Principal Devoll said. “Last year we had capacity limits at many of our events due to the pandemic, so we’re excited for the unified seasons this year and looking forward to seeing the community at our events.”
“Our unified sports have really taken school spirit to a new level and it’s great to see the student body and community come out to support our unified teams,” Superintendent Nelson said. “We’re very proud of this designation and I’d like to thank Director Tilden, Principal Devoll, Director Davidson and all of our staff members who help make the unified seasons successful each year.”
The school also received a certificate and two customized posters recognizing its status as a Unified Champion School.