Taking part in Unified Sports is a popular activity at Cochrane High School, something that brings students with special needs and the rest of the student population together to enjoy several sports.
“It’s really cool to see that we’re breaking down those barriers and stereotypes,” Grade 10 student Ky Macdonald said.
The program has recently earned the school some welcome recognition.
Special Olympics Alberta has named it 2018’s top Unified School in the province, with the organization awarding Cochrane High for displaying “phenomenal commitment and passion for Special Olympics.”
The program is making a world of difference for Grade 11 student with special needs, Harry Sachkiw.
“Unified Sports are really good,” Sachkiw said. “Everyone helps each other.”
“All the kids support each other, they all care about each other,” Harry’s mother Sandra Sachkiw said. “Harry’s had the most help he’s ever had. He has a lot of medical issues and they’re just so understanding here.”
The award is especially meaningful for Sinead Holzer, the learning support teacher in charge of Unified Sports at the school.
“I’m just really proud,” Holzer said. “How much better citizens are they going to be–going out into the world knowing that they have more similarities with people than differences?”