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Odessa, Poplar Bluff and Rolla earn School of Character Awards of Merit


CARTHAGE – The Missouri Association of Student Councils (MASC), one of Special Olympics Missouri’s (SOMO) Statewide Partners, hosted its State Convention at Carthage High School, March 15-16. Student leaders from across the state learned about inclusion, were recognized for their incredible efforts to promote inclusion over the past year and shared ideas with other students. We also had the chance to celebrate a huge milestone! MASC’s lifetime contributions to SOMO through the Polar Plunge have exceeded $1.5 million!

Learning About Inclusion

Student council members participated in a Spread the Word >> Inclusion pledge to include. This is an easy whole school engagement activity they could replicate on their campus. Every school was invited to become a Unified Champion School ( ) . By committing to inclusion and partnering with SOMO, student councils can have a huge impact on their school culture, gain recognition for their hard work, and be connected to other schools working towards similar goals.

Recognized for Inclusion

SOMO celebrated MASC member schools who are dedicated to inclusion with the School of Character Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards at the annual MASC State Convention. The top School of Character honor, the Award of Merit, is given annually to the school which displays the most outstanding commitment to individuals with intellectual disabilities, a true understanding of unity and a passion for raising money and awareness for SOMO athletes. This year there was a three-way tie for the Award of Merit! All schools received a plaque and will be listed on our website. The schools who won the Award of Merit will receive one MASC Summer Leadership Workship Scholarship or $375 for inclusive programing at their school.

2024 Award of Merit:

  • Odessa High School
  • Poplar Bluff High School
  • Rolla High School

2024 Gold:

  • Buerkle Middle School
  • Festus High School
  • Fulton High School
  • Lindbergh High School
  • Seckman High School
  • Webb City Junior High School
  • Windsor High School

2024 Bronze:

  • Pattonville High School

Sharing Inclusion

Lots of great ideas were shared during the idea fair that hit on all three components of the Unified Champion School Strategy (Unified Sports and Activities, Inclusive Youth Leadership, Whole School Engagement):

  • Fulton High School told students about their Fun in the Sun Unified Track and Field event that impacts students K-12. 
  • Seckman High School shared how their council’s Special Olympics committee, made up of students with and without Intellectual Disabilities, hosts All Abilities Parties.
  • Odessa High School, recent National Banner Recognition recipients, advocated for schools to become Unified Champion Schools.
  • Rolla High school campaigned for kindness and inclusion in schools by sharing whole school and individual actions that will result in a better environment for all students.

Thank you!

Thank you, MASC, for our partnership and the opportunity to connect with the most incredible leaders across the state. Through your fundraising efforts and your daily actions, you are making your schools and communities more inclusive for everyone. Keep up the amazing work! You can learn more about Unified Champion Schools at