The Unified Club at Rutherford High School is a club that was introduced this 2018-19 school year and is looking forward to participating in many activities this year and upcoming years.
The Unified Club, sponsored by the Special Olympics, is a club for both students with and without intellectual disabilities that comes together for sports, games, community service, and school events. It aims to create school and community climates of acceptance and inclusion. The RHS club is run by Principal DeBari and Mrs. Lancaster along with Ms. Goodman and Ms. Prinzo.
“I heard about the Special Olympics through Mr. Debari and I researched it and decided it would be a great way to make the special ed kids feel included and not separated,” Mrs. Lancaster says. She explained that the Unified Club meant a lot to her personally as well.
This club participates in a variety of different games and activities together. Sophomore member Emma Lagasse says, We do fun activities after school with the Special Ed class such as kickball, painting, cooking, and we even went to the YMCA gym and did some activities there.”
The RHS Unified Club has attended many events “We’ve done past events that were very successful like the kickball game with the Lyndhurst Unified Club, Winter Youth Summit, and Board and Brush,” Mrs. Lancaster states.
These events really allow the students to branch out and enjoy time with other people from other Unified Clubs. Lagasse stated, “The idea of the summit is to learn from other schools with this club and how they get everyone involved. We started off with icebreakers and met many other students. It allowed us to get more ideas for what we can do in the club. The summit was a really great way to learn from others as well as get to know each other better and enjoy a really good day together.”
The Unified Club is looking to do some more activities in the future. “We’re also looking forward to visiting the Statue of Liberty together, selling bracelets for autism awareness month, and the end-of-year party,” Mrs. Lancaster says. These events allow for the members to enjoy themselves while bringing awareness to others around them.
The club has hopes for the upcoming school year. Sophomore member Emma Lagasse says, “We hope that by next year we can branch out to many new members and be able to have our own completed sports team.”