Austin and Rochester’s Unified Sports Day

Austin and Rochester’s Unified Sports Day

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(ABC 6 News) – Austin High School held its first Unified Sports Day on Friday.

The event is held to help create and strengthen relationships between high school student with and without special needs.

Austin hosted Fairmont High School and provided a unique opportunity for special education students.

The day featured a number of different sporting activities, including two basketball games.

Special need students competed in different activity stations alongside students from other schools.

“Here at Austin, we are very lucky to have a good unified P.E. program where we have grown, you know, how students work together with students with disabilities and include everyone into games of basketball, volleyball, frisbee and kind of teach them that it’s still okay to play the activities, even if your playing it a little different way,” said Jacy Bodi, a physical education teacher at Austin High School.

Austin High has had a unified physical education program for the last five years, allowing general education students to work with those with special needs.

“A lot of these people that are in these unified programs, you wouldn’t usually interact with,” said Lucal Stewart, an 11th grader at Austin High. “So like, taking a class like this it really helps you, like, interact with them and it helps you have empathy for them, like, it puts you in their shoes you kind of learn what they are going through.”

The basketball games also hosted students from IJ Holton and Ellis middle schools to spectate and cheer on the athletes.

Austin wasn’t alone in the festivities.

For the third year in a row, Rochester Schools brought students together for its Special Olympics Unified Bowling event.

More than 120 students and staff from Century, Mayo and John Marshall joined in on the fun on Friday.

“Build relationships between our our students with and without special needs; this is a springboard for them to build those relationships that they’ll hopefully carry over into their hallways, so when they see each other in the hallways, they’ll give them a high five and smiles,” said Colin Thomas a Unified Special Olympics liaison at Mayo High.

Mayo began having unified classes a few years ago.