The Lexington High Wildcats have always been athletic champions, but they were recently recognized as a Special Olympics National Banner Unified Champion School! National Banner Unified Champion Schools aim to create social inclusion by meeting national standards of excellence that include Unified Sports programs, which bring together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities as teammates, as well as Inclusive Youth Leadership and Whole-School Engagement programs.
In February of this year, Special Olympics South Carolina hosted the National Unified Champion Schools Conference in Lexington, where Special Olympics Program representatives from 48 states were in attendance. Lexington School District 1 presented 45 Special Olympics student athletes with athletic letters for outstanding accomplishments in Unified Sports. They are the first school district in this state to award letters for these teams. Lexington High was also the first school in the country, and among eight schools in SC, to be recognized as a Banner Unified Champion School. On hand to recognize them were Chief Executive Officer of Special Olympics International, Mary Davis, and ESPN SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi, who unveiled the school’s new Unified Champion School banner in the Lexington High School gymnasium.
We should all be very proud of Lexington High School’s accomplishment, which goes beyond sports to teach students the values of inclusion, advocacy and respect for all, and creates an altogether more socially inclusive school that works for everyone. Wade McGuinn is CEO of McGuinn Hybrid Homes, which builds housing communities in and around the Lexington area, such as Summerlake, which is zoned for Lexington High School. He added, “The importance of this program cannot be overstated. It promotes attitudes of acceptance and respect in our students, things that will someday help them become great leaders of our community.”