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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Adamsky - MRH Faculty

A Unifying Event Is Here, And It’s Important

by Emi C.

“Project Unified:” it's a big deal for our school culture and community. It shines a spotlight on children with special needs while giving them a chance to be celebrated by playing basketball.  Within our district, these games highlight a part of our community who often get bullied, mistreated, or are misunderstood.  Instead, this event celebrates them and turns it into an unforgettable experience.

March 19th and 26th: the game days, and it happens right after school ends. These games only last an hour or so with a constant running clock, while they face peers from another school.  The student body gives them an audience and cheers them on.  Whether it seems like another event or school activity to you, it's not just anything for these kids. They get the chance to participate in a rather unique experience whilst being celebrated.

David Evans, the band director who runs the pep band for these games, loves these games, but also believes “it is important for the band to be a part of the larger school community when possible.  This is an event that is part of the fabric of our school's traditions now, and that in itself is important.” This event highlights a part of our community and emphasizes participation that really brings this inclusive environment giving “important opportunities for our students with special needs to be recognized and even celebrated.  With all of the challenges these students face on a daily basis, being able to cheer for them is powerful and life-giving for both the participants and the spectators.” While only including Evans emphasis on the importance, the others often said many similar things about the importance.

I asked peers: What was your favorite memory of being involved in this event?

Jessie J., a senior, spoke about how being involved in ‘Project Unified’ was a favorite memory. “When I was playing in the band, we would play stand tunes throughout the game and every time they scored after we cheered, and seeing how happy they looked was by far the best part of the event.”

Donny H., a junior, enjoyed “seeing the joy on the kids' faces every time because of the way that we support them and playing with the band while watching it.”

Isaiah A., a Junior, “really enjoyed just watching everyone cheer for each kid as they ran into the court with a giant smile on their face. Without a doubt, I cherish their smiles every time I think about it, and it's a great reminder that these kids have such an amazing gift to bring lots of joy to the world.”

Evans concluded the general consensus that  “every time I've had a joyful tear come to my eye at one of these games.  The excitement and joy on these kids' faces when they make a surprise 3-pointer (or whatever else they achieve) is just priceless.”

I might be repeating myself, but the fact is that these games are really important.  It's a community building activity and “being together with such large groups of people for an event that means the world for some kids is one of the most empathetic and morale empowering things we can offer as a school,” Jessie continued.

So, set the date on your calendar and come support these kids.

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