Flag Football Unifies Students of all Ability Levels at West Fargo High School

Through work in sports, health education and community building, Special Olympics North Dakota is addressing problems such as injustice, intolerance and social isolation that students with disabilities face every day

WEST FARGO, N.D.– West Fargo high school is the first in the metro to introduce inclusive sports.

Through work in sports, health education and community building, Special Olympics North Dakota is addressing problems such as injustice, intolerance and social isolation that students with disabilities face every day.

Unified Sports is a registered program of Special Olympics that brings together all athletes, with or without intellectual disabilities, to experience teamwork and interact with other students.

“The students are excited, says special education teacher at West Fargo high school, Shanna Lower. “They come to practice ready to play, and they are building friendships and they are just excited about being a part of something that they didn’t even know existed. They are building our packer family, and we are just continuing to build a program that we’re really excited about.”

The students involved get to experience being part of a team and participating in the competition, but what they learn from that experience means so much more.

“It’s just amazing,” says assistant principal of West Fargo high school, Kelly Peters. “To see the electricity and the smiles on the students all week long gearing up for this and so on. They have been practicing twice a week for about the last two months, it’s just been exciting to see that build and how energetic they are. And then to watch the parents in the stands as they come in, they pick up a program and see their son or daughter’s name in the program and they are just electric. I mean this is really, really exciting.”

The people involved with getting the program to West Fargo say they hope that other schools will adopt inclusive sports.

“I think if they watched the enjoyment our students have and the excitement that they have while they’re out on the field, they would want it in their building. Both students with and without disabilities they’re excited they enjoy being around each other. They see each other in the hallways and are giving each other high fives so they’re building friendships that they may not have built otherwise because they don’t get to be in classes together and things like that.”

This partnership is designed to bring together students, both with and without intellectual disabilities through teamwork and a little competition.

Special Olympics North Dakota will be hosting a flag football tournament during State Summer Games on June 6th at the South high school football fields.

Categories: Community, Local News, North Dakota News