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2018 State Champions, North Penn High School

Students with and without intellectual disabilities participated in a Unified Indoor Bocce Championship at the Camp Hill Sports Center in Camp Hill, PA on Friday, March 23, 2018. The competition date was changed from Thursday, March 22nd due to a rescheduling of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) championships. The bocce championship was to originally be held prior to the PIAA championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA.

This year high school teams, who are a part of the Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s Interscholastic Unified Sports® program, earned a spot in this event by winning their county or city championships. The teams competed in a modified competition bracket for a chance at one of eight spots in the finals. The following counties/areas and schools were represented: Bradford/Tioga Counties – Liberty High School; Greater Harrisburg Region – Upper Dauphin High School; Beaver County – Rochester and Central Valley High School; Mercer/Butler/Lawrence Counties - Groove City and West Middlesex High School; Delaware County – Haverford and Sun Valley High School; Montgomery County – North Penn High School; Philadelphia – George Washington and Hill Freedman High Schools.

After some stiff competition, North Penn High School won gold, Sun Valley High School grabbed the silver, and North Penn Liberty High School took home the bronze.

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Click here for more Championship Photos

Special Olympics Pennsylvania Interscholastic Unified Sports® (IUS) is a fully-inclusive co-ed high school sports program that brings together a proportional number of students with and without disabilities on teams for training and competition. Over the course of several years, Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) seeks to build a network of partnerships with school districts to introduce Unified Sports programs in high schools throughout the state. Both the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Bureau of Special Education and the PIAA endorse IUS and have been working collaboratively with SOPA to promote these programs to schools. This winter, there were 63 high schools throughout the state that competed in Unified Indoor Bocce.

Unified Sports® is the one Special Olympics program which helps schools fulfill the requirements of the Department of Education guidance letter reminding schools of the federal law (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) protecting the rights of all students with disabilities to have equal access to athletics activities.

 The Knight Crier

Pride of Pennsylvania: The NPHS Unified Bocce Team Captured the PIAA State Title In Just Their First Year As A Team