The special combination of exceptional students and their general education friends on sports teams is taking off when Project Unify meets at the track to start training for running and track events.
Project Unify started as an effort to get special education students involved in sports. In elementary school, students of varying abilities are teamed together, to learn from each other and to eliminate any stigma being attached to the special education students.
In New Jersey, Paramus High School Project Unify club held its first annual track meet for special education students recently.
“The best and most rewarding part of the event was watching the kids light up and be confident in their ability to compete in the track meet,” said Jeanne Browne, a coordinator of the event and special education teacher. “A lot of them had never really had the opportunity before.”
The meet included a long jump, shot put, races of various lengths, and a javelin throw. Groups rotated to the different areas, competing in all the events, and were timed by volunteers.
The club began at Paramus High school last year with bowling twice a week, and expanded to basketball in middle school. Eventually, track and field was added as well.