Bend High School to Receive National Recognition from Special Olympics for Achievements with Inclusion


Bend High School will be hanging a brand new banner in its gymnasium as the recipient of a national honor for its commitment to promoting inclusion in the classroom. Special Olympics Oregon announced Bend High School, a Special Olympics Unified Champion School, is receiving national banner recognition for its efforts to provide inclusive sports and activities for students with and without disabilities.

Bend High School is being recognized as a result of meeting national standards of excellence in the areas of inclusion, advocacy and respect. An award presentation will take place at the school on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 and will feature a video message from Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard and will be hosted by student representatives and ESPN soccer analyst Kasey Keller, former goalkeeper of the men’s U.S. National Soccer Team and in Major League Soccer.

Presentation details:
Date: Thursday, Jan. 11th
Time: 11:10am
Location: Bend High School – 230 NE 6th St. Bend, OR 97701
What: National banner revealed for the first time and special guest speakers and dignitaries to highlight Bend High School’s commitment to inclusion
Scheduled to Attend: Kasey Keller, ESPN soccer analyst; Margie Hunt, CEO Special Olympics Oregon; and other local dignitaries
*Media is invited to attend. Please arrive 10 minutes early and check in at school front office upon arrival.

Bend High School is one of only 52 schools nationwide to receive this award in 2017. It will be presented with a banner to hang in their school and be included on a list of other schools around the country who have achieved this distinguished status.

“You’ve made your classrooms into places of inclusion, your hallways, your cafeterias, your busses, your playing fields into places of inclusion.” Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics Inc. said.  “Our hope is in you, that you will build the unified generation where once and for all people with intellectual challenges and their non-disabled peers will see each other as equal.  You are a Unified Champion School and the future rests with you.  Thank you for leading us forward.”  Shriver said.

“What a phenomenal accomplishment.  We are so very proud of our school culture,” Chris Reese, Bend High School Principal said. “It is what we hang our hat on. Our awesome Unified Sports Program is a shining example of that story.”

Last March, the Bend Unified Basketball team participated in the first-ever OSAA, Special Olympics Oregon Unified Exhibition Basketball Championship Tournament which was part of an exclusive partnership with OSAA and Special Olympics Oregon.

More than 75 schools are currently participating in Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools programming in Oregon, as part of more than 5,000 schools across the country engaged in the program. Special Olympics has a global goal of creating 10,000 Unified Champion Schools by 2020. This model has been proven, through research, to be an effective and replicable means to providing students with and without disabilities the opportunity to form positive social relationships and promote a socially inclusive school climate*.
84% of students regard participation in the program as a turning point in their lives.
72% of involved teachers believe participation in the program has increased the confidence of students with disabilities.
88% credit the program with reducing bullying and teasing in their schools.

A Special Olympics Unified Champion School has an inclusive school climate and exudes a sense of collaboration, engagement and respect for all members of the student body and staff. A Unified Champion School receiving national banner recognition is one that has demonstrated commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 national standards of excellence. These standards were developed by a national panel of leaders from Special Olympics and the education community.

*Evaluation conducted by the Center for Social Development and Education (CSDE) at the University of Massachusetts Boston

About Special Olympics Oregon
Special Olympics Oregon serves more than 14,000 participants with intellectual disabilities year-round and statewide through the organization’s life changing sports programs. Unified Champion Schools is a collaboration with school communities for engaging young people with and without intellectual disabilities as leaders promoting acceptance, inclusion and respect in their schools, utilizing the sports and education initiatives of Special Olympics Oregon. Unified Champion Schools is sponsored by Nike and Les Schwab Tire Centers throughout Oregon. Learn more at


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