SHS students bond through Project Unify event

Searcy,Ark.,(LP)—Special education students from Searcy High School united with fellow athletes at the United Volleyball tournament on November fifteenth. Student athletes from Searcy traveled to Conway to compete in the volleyball tournament against other schools in Arkansas. They spent a school day making friends and getting to know each other when playing volleyball, tennis, soccer, and other sports together. I talked to Macy Hall, a student athlete at SHS, and she explained what happened at the Unified Volleyball Tournament. She stated, “The Unified Volleyball Tournament is an event that unifies the participants with guests like myself. With it being unified, there are no labels on people, just as athletes.  We were split into teams with three to four athletes with five to six participants on each team. Every team played in two games and we received medals based off our performance.”

SHS athletes pose for a picture after winning many games. Picture borrowed from Sara Mccammon.

Being coached by teachers Mrs.Webb and Mrs.Wright, and Coach Leonard, a physical education teacher and coach of many sports, the students that went to the tournament were advised and taught many lessons, in sports and real life. They learned how to support each other and not judge one another  based on appearances or prejudices against mentally or physically disordered people. Sarah Mccammon, sophomore and student athlete at SHS, stated, “Unified events are always a great reminder that we should include everyone at our school and make efforts to reach out and be a friend because special athletes are some of the sweetest and most genuine people you will ever meet.”

This event happened because of Project Unify. Project Unify was created around 2016 to involve the special education students in more activities, like sports and clubs. Sara Mccammon has been involved in the Project Unify club ever since it first began and it “holds a special place” in her heart. She stated, “the mission of Project Unify is something I really believe in.”  Macy has the same opinion. She has been involved in Project Unify almost as long as Sara has. Reflecting on the tournament, she stated,” I participated in the unify tournament to create new friendships and memories that other people don’t really have the opportunity to make. I learned how to truly be a team player through the unified tournament.” 

A look at the medal won by the students after working hard and winning many games.

Project Unify has many more events coming up. Later on in the year, the student athletes will be going to basketball and field hockey tournaments. They also participate in Special Olympics, the sports event at Harding, that involves many games and tournaments. Project Unify is a success at SHS and has even better things planned for the future!





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