Story and photos submitted by Rondah Frierson
Rangeview High School
Rangeview High School's unified basketball team recently played a game that left all spectators, including varsity basketball players and cheerleaders, wanting an encore. It's safe to say the contest resulted in victory in more ways than one.
As they warmed up the students looked into the crowd with amazement at the fact that so many other their fellow Raiders showed up to support the unified team. After three years of discussions, teacher Kaly Warner and Athletic Director Vic Strouse decided to launch Rangeview’s unified team this year. The unified team is a program that creates a space for both students with and without intellectual disabilities to interact with each other in an activity that promotes social inclusion for all students. The Special Olympics pioneer the unified sports program and it has been adopted by many schools across the nation. Rangeview joins Aurora Central and Gateway as APS schools who have launched programs.
When asked about how important this is for her students, Warner said, “They are excited to be a part of some part of the school community. They feel like they can relate to the athletes in our school … plus they get to work with students that aren’t in their classes, which is really building their confidence and community.”
The number one-seeded Rangeview boys basketball team and the girls basketball program have invested time to coach and mentor the team’s athletes. Students from Rangeview’s Community of Excellence, the school's freshman student cohort, also works closely with the team.
Rangeview's team did prevail with a win over Manual High School’s unified team, but the true victory in this story is the strength this team brought to the Rangeview community.
APS 2020: Shaping the Future - Core Belief:
-Every student has unique abilities that we must recognize and engage.