Laconia High School was honored as a Special Olympics Unified Champion School during a banner presentation at the school’s Winter Carnival assembly on Thursday, February 22nd. The school is recognized for meeting 10 national standards of excellence for its unified community, which is made up of students who face challenges, mental or physical, and receive services at school. The assembly also had Winter Carnival games, and a 5-on-5 basketball game with three unified athletes and two student assistants on each team. Principal Lisa Hinds praised how the student body supports the unified students. “You can see that sense of inclusion, you can see the way that the crowd reacted today,” Hinds said. “You had nearly 600 students in the stands.” Hinds also believes Laconia is unique in how they support their unified students, and it’s inspiring to see the school come together. “I came here in 2015, and the first time I saw that, there wasn’t an adult here that wasn’t just so completely moved, in awe,” she remembered. “I think that’s the thing that makes Laconia so much different than anywhere else. There was heart in everything that you saw.”

In the past 4 years, the Laconia Unified Sports program has grown significantly. They currently have between 15 to 20 students participating. They offer basketball, soccer, track and field and are planning to try frisbee golf this coming spring. Stephanie Winter, Unified Coach and Special Education Teacher says, “I love unified because it brings everyone together and it just makes you happy. It truly is my favorite thing about the whole day. You never see a sad face out in that court. No matter who wins or loses, we have a great time.”

Laconia High School also offers an Arts and Crafts Club where they are able to do fun activities outside of sports. They do science projects. arts and crafts and even build with Legos.

Check out pictures from the Laconia High School Unified Champion School Banner Ceremony HERE!

The Special Olympics New Hampshire Unified Champion Schools program is aimed at promoting social inclusion through intentionally planned and implemented activities affecting systems-wide change. With sports as the foundation, the three-component model offers a unique combination of effective activities that equip young people with tools and training to create sports, classroom and school climates of acceptance. These are school climates where students with disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in, and feel a part of, all activities, opportunities and functions.

Check out our Unified Champion Schools Playbook and Calendar of Events for more information!

Ready to take the next step, complete the Unified Champion Schools Application.