SOUTHINGTON - The Southington High School Unified Sports Team has been recognized as a â€śUnified Banner Champion School.â€ť The national award is sponsored by the Special Olympics.
The Southington Board of Education recognized the program during a recent meeting and presented the team with a certificate of excellence.
The Unified Sports Team is fully funded by Southington UNICO and has been considered one of the organizationâ€™s key initiatives for five years. Southington UNICO also fully funds the high schoolâ€™s Unified Theater.
According to Anthony Cusano, past president of UNICO, Southington High School Unified Sports embodies UNICOâ€™s mantra of â€śservice to fellow man and communityâ€ť in addition to being a charitable education project.
â€śThis is a great accomplishment on behalf of Southington Unified Sports,â€ť he said. â€śUNICO is truly proud and honored to be the sole supporter of that program since its inception. UNICO congratulates all of the athletes on their accomplishment.â€ť
Victoria Triano, current president of UNICO, said the organization is committed to supporting Unified Sports.
â€śI love it,â€ť Triano said. â€śWe have been sponsoring them for years and it is so gratifying to see that we are helping them to achieve all the things they can in sports and now theater as well. This news is very exciting for me and all of UNICO.â€ť
According to Special Olympics International, Unified Champion Schools have an â€śinclusive school climate and exude a sense of collaboration, engagement and respect for all members of the student body and staff. A Banner Unified Champion School is one that has demonstrated commitment to inclusion by fully adopting the three components including: Special Olympics Unified Sports, Inclusive Youth Leadership and Whole School Engagement.â€ť
The SHS Unified Sports Team is now one of only 32 programs in the country to have received this recognition.
â€śWe would like to thank all of the members of UNICO for your support,â€ť said the Unified Sports Team coaches, Marguerite Maddalena, Denise Ingriselli and Andrew Larkin, in a letter to Southington UNICO. â€śThank you for allowing us to do what we do and for allowing the athletes and partners of all our teams to be a part of something so special.â€ť
Southington UNICO has more than 80 members and is was established in 1944. Annually, the club distributes about $30,000 to local and national charities and initiatives.
For more information on Southington UNICO, call 860-628-8170 or visit southingtonunico.com.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.