Special Olympics’ National Banner Unified Champion School

Souderton Area High School One of Four Schools in the Nation Recognized

WHAT:  Special Olympics’ National Banner Unified Champion School Presentation

WHO:  Souderton Area High School and Special Olympics

WHEN:  Thursday, November 30, 2017, 9:30 AM

WHERE:  Souderton Area High School Gymnasium

WHY:  Celebrating Souderton’s Extraordinarily Inclusive School Community

On Thursday, November 30, 2017, Souderton Area High School (SAHS) will be the first school in Pennsylvania to be recognized as a National Banner Unified Champion School by the Special Olympics’ International headquarters. This award is bestowed on only a few select schools throughout the country that have met ten established standards of excellence demonstrative of a commitment to promoting inclusion. 

The Banner will be presented by Tim Shriver, CEO of Special Olympics, during an all-school pep rally beginning at 9:30 AM on November 30th, in SAHS’s Gymnasium.  Souderton is one of only four schools in the country to be highlighted nationally through such a Banner presentation. 

SAHS Athletic Director, Dennis Stanton, along with Supervisor of Special Education, Megan Zweiback, spearheaded the effort to bring Unified Sports to Souderton.  Dennis Stanton indicated, “Unified Sports has been a great addition to Souderton Area High School's culture of inclusion.  Our Unified Track and Unified Bocce teams have created amazing opportunities for our student-athletes and have had a positive impact on the entire student body.  We are excited to be recognized and are committed to growing our program in the future.”  

Unified Sports has teams of typical and special students who compete side-by-side in interscholastic competition. SAHS first instituted Unified Track and Field in the 2015-16 school year, and then added Unified Bocce during the 2016-17 school year.  Souderton’s Unified Track and Field team won the State Championship in 2017!

According to SAHS principal, Sam Varano, “In Souderton we have always prided ourselves, first and foremost, on being a very accepting and supportive school for all members of our community.  Unified Sports, however, has catapulted the camaraderie between our typical and special needs students to new levels.”

For a good visual idea of the banner presentation that will occur at SAHS, below is a link from ESPN showing the first banner presentation at Lexington High School in South Carolina:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wl7Wd_VTQnc.

Superintendent Frank T. Gallagher commented, "I am so proud of our high school.  Receiving this award is another example of the inclusivity of the school district and of Souderton's commitment to focusing on the whole-child.”