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‘Unified Days’ kick off Return to Play activities


A group of athletes and volunteers pose for a photo on a track in front of a banner
A group of students from Jefferson City High School and Capital City High School pose for a photo on April 16 during a “Unified Day” at the Training for Life Campus in Jefferson City.

Festus High School

Festus High School Student Council hosted a Unified Track day for their entire district on April 15, culminating several months of planning.

I went to the last planning meeting to make sure that they had everything in order before the big day. That meeting got me excited for it. That day I arrived early to set up my big archway for the athletes to walk through, inflated the tall wiggly guy that flails his arms and body around, and put up our Special Olympics feather banners to give it the final touch.

Three students pose for a photo while cheering on their classmates during the April 15 “Unified Day” at Festus H.S.

The volunteers began to arrive, and you could see how excited they were to put on this event for the athletes and unified partners. They went through their job duties and in came they athletes and Unified Partners. The first group was high school, seventh, and eighth graders. They all went through and ran the 50m run – everyone cheering each other on as they ran as fast as they could – then moved on to the softball throw, and lastly the running long jump.

The next group was fourth, fifth, and sixth grade, followed by the last of kindergarten through third grade. Everybody there was excited for the event, happy while being there, and no one wanted to leave – myself included. And everyone got a popsicle after they were done competing! I don’t know if you can beat that.

I was so impressed with everyone involved – from the students all the way to the superintendent. Festus has turned the Inclusion Revolution into inclusion being the culture of the school.

Campus Unified Day
On April 16 we were able to host our first Unified track meet at the Training for Life Campus. We had schools right in our back yard come over from Jefferson City High School and Capital City High School. In total, we had 52 athletes and Unified Partners compete in softball throw, standing long jump, and either the 50- or the 100-meter run.

You could see in every athlete and Unified Partner’s face how much fun they were having competing together. After everyone came together, we all had lunch and waited for the awards to be tallied.

I had the honor of announcing the award winners and it was amazing, seeing their arms raise up, faces light up, and hearing everyone cheer for them as they saw their hard work pay off. It was a great experience for all and I cannot wait for more schools to come together and follow in their footsteps.

A group of young athletes stand in a group listening to a volunteer
A group of students wait for their turn to participate in the “Unified Day” April 15 at Festus H.S.