Marana High School has been recognized for its work with the Special Olympics, receiving the title of National Unified Champion School.
Marana High recently celebrated its title during a pep rally with dozens of the school's special education students leading the event and marching into the school's gym. The students held a banner announcing the school's title as they met with applause from fellow students, cheerleaders and mascots.
The high school's celebration of the National Unified Champion School title included a special certificate being awarded to the school's life skills teacher and Special Olympic coach Brett Secemski.
“Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools equip students with the necessary tools and training to create inclusive sports, classroom and community experiences that reduce bullying, promote healthy activities, combat stereotypes, eliminate hurtful language and improve the overall school climate,” area director for Special Olympics Arizona Holly Thompson said at the Marana High pep rally. “Marana High School continues to excel in all these areas and this is why you have received this national recognition.”
The Special Olympics Arizona, which held its first competition in 1975, offers 22 sports and 170 programs in six regions as well as five state-wide competitions. The competitions involve over 16,000 athletes and 12,700 volunteers each year.