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July 24, 2017
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Stillwater News

Stillwater students prepare for inaugural Unified Sports basketball season

May 4, 2017- The inaugural season of the Unified Basketball Program at Stillwater High School is about to begin. The program, which is run through the Special Olympics, brings together students with special needs and general education students to create a co-ed team, where they will practice and compete together against other area schools.

“The goal of the program is to build relationships and connections among the students, and give the students with disabilities a chance to play high school sports,” High School Principal Dr. Michael Johnson said. “This program ensures that every player is given an opportunity to contribute to the success of his or her team through their unique skills.”

This season, there will be a total of 14 students on the team. Mr. Ian Lewis, a special education teacher and varsity coach at Stillwater will be the head coach, a task he is excited to take on.

“I am extremely honored that Dr. Johnson, Mr. Collins and Coach Kinney came to me to be the first coach for this team. It means a lot to me,” Mr. Lewis said. “Last year some high school students saw that Mechanicville had a team and they wanted the same opportunity for our students. We have this team because our students advocated for their peers.”

Stillwater also implemented a Youth Activation Committee (YAC), which consists of student-leaders with and without disabilities, to strategize and plan activities. The YAC is responsible for the promotion and sustainability of the Unified Sports Program.

Teachers and administrators say both of these opportunities will help teach all of the students many lessons that they may not learn inside the classroom.

“It’s always beneficial to be a part of a team. You are able to learn life lessons such as how to control your emotions, setting and achieving goals, self-discipline, and how to deal with pressure and stress,” Mr. Lewis said.

Stillwater received a $2,000 grant through the Special Olympics to help cover the cost of stipends for a coach and an advisor, uniforms, and other additional costs.

It is the district’s hope that this program will educate, motivate and activate the students to promote respect, inclusion, and acceptance for all.

The first game is on Monday, May 8 at Mechanicville at 4:15 p.m. Come out and support the Warriors!

 

2017 unified basketball schedule

All games will be played at 4:15 p.m.

  • Monday, May 8 at Mechanicville
  • Thursday, May 11 at Ballston Spa
  • Monday, May 15 vs. Burnt Hills
  • Thursday, May 18 vs. Niskayuna
  • Wednesday, May 24 vs. Saratoga
  • Wednesday, May 31 vs. Shaker
  • Saturday, June 3 vs. TBD
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