Graham Kanwit | Staff Writer
Today, students will be able to enjoy sandwiches, salads, cookies and shakes from Chick-Fil-A as part of the Special Olympics’ Champions Together fundraiser. The items will be delivered during STaR, and 20-25 extra sandwiches may be available for purchase during lunch.
“We’re trying to raise money for the Special Olympics’ Champions Together banner,” Unified Track Coach Holly Hirsch-White said. “We have to get $1,500 to get the banner. We’re [as of May 6] about halfway to our goal.”
The money raised will go toward Special Olympics of Indiana. While this money does not directly go benefit the school, donating demonstrates the school’s support for inclusion.
“It shows that we are a school that believes in inclusion and we have activities that allow all types of students to participate,” Assistant Principal Tracy McMahen said.
The banner is one of four requirements to become a Champions Together school; the other requirements include organizing and participating in at least one unified sport, conducting at least one school-wide activity to promote awareness and respect and establishing a leadership program with students who have disabilities. Center Grove has met the other three requirements through unified track, the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign and Best Buddies & peer tutoring.
“We are already doing all the pieces that show we believe in inclusion,” McMahen said. “This fundraiser just highlights [our support] by giving recognition to programs that help people with intellectual disabilities.”
Hirsch-White, who is organizing the Chick-Fil-A fundraiser, agrees.
“Champions Together and Special Olympics pair people with intellectual disabilities with those [without disabilities] in activities. Here all we have is track, but there are lots of other unified sports,” Hirsch-White said. “It’s just a partnership between Special Olympics and IHSAA. We really want to build more community between people with and without intellectual disabilities.”
Besides the fundraiser, students can support athletes with disabilities by joining unified track or the unified sports club next year, or attending the unified track team’s sectional meet at Edgewood on May 18.