OR recognized as Special Olympics Champion School

Sep 23, 2021

The Old Rochester Regional High School has been recognized as an official Special Olympics Massachusetts Unified Champion School following the 2020-2021 school year.

The school received the designation for “embodying what it means to be a Unified Champion School through unified sports, inclusive youth leadership programs and whole-school engagement,” according to an OR press release.

"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."

OR 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 comprise students with disabilities and 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.

The unified basketball team is usually made up of teams of 20 or more students and unified track often has 70-80 athletes 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 Michael 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."