Pennridge Receives National Recognition from Special Olympics

Special Olympics Pennsylvania has announced that Pennridge High School, a Special Olympics Unified Champion School, is receiv­ing nation­al ban­ner recog­ni­tion for its efforts to pro­vide inclu­sive sports and activ­i­ties for stu­dents with and with­out dis­abil­i­ties. Pennridge High School is receiv­ing this hon­or as a result of meet­ing nation­al stan­dards of excel­lence in the areas of inclu­sion, advo­ca­cy, and respect.

Pennridge High School is the first high school in Bucks County to reach nation­al­ly approved sta­tus. The Pennridge Unified pro­gram con­sists of two ful­ly inclu­sive sports teams, Bocce and Track and Field, that com­pete in the Winter and Spring. A ful­ly inclu­sive sports team is one where stu­dents with and with­out dis­abil­i­ties train and com­pete as team­mates. In 2019 the track and field team placed 6th in the state. The pro­gram also has a year-round self-sustaining club with ful­ly inclu­sive lead­er­ship. The Unified Club held sev­er­al fundrais­ers, club meet­ings, attend­ed a lead­er­ship sum­mit, par­tic­i­pat­ed in events such as the polar plunge and Unified night at a Fall Football game.

In addi­tion to the sports teams and club, to be rec­og­nized as a nation­al­ly approved pro­gram, the Unified Program needs engage­ment from the entire school. At Pennridge, the Unified Club and Teams launched cam­paigns to pro­mote inclu­sion, held inclu­sive events like dance par­ties and oth­er school-wide activ­i­ties through­out the year.

Dr. David Bolton, Pennridge School District Superintendent, stat­ed, “Unified Sports has made a tremen­dous impact on our school and com­mu­ni­ty. It is more than just run­ning track or play­ing a com­pet­i­tive game of boc­ce; it teach­es all our stu­dents the impor­tance of get­ting involved and being inclu­sive of oth­ers in all areas of their lives.”

Unified Coaches and Club advi­sors, Angela James and Christine Fehnel, are spe­cial edu­ca­tion teach­ers at Pennridge High School. They are pas­sion­ate about their work on and off the field and have engaged 50 stu­dents in either the club or the sports teams.

The Pennridge School District is Pennridge Proud of Mrs. James, Mrs. Fehnel, and the Unified Athletes and Club Members!