Haverford HS Receives National Recognition From Special Olympics

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Haverford High School, a Special Olympics Pennsylvania Unified Champion School, recently hosted a special banner presentation to celebrate the School’s national recognition for its outstanding efforts to provide inclusive sports and activities for students with and without disabilities. The school received this honor as a result of meeting national standards of excellence in the areas of inclusion, advocacy and respect, which places it be among a select number of schools to receive this distinction.  Click here to view event photos.

Haverford High School celebrated becoming the first school from Delaware County and the 7th school in Pennsylvania to achieve national banner recognition with a school assembly. The special school assembly featured a small program with cheering students, athlete and Unified Partner testimonials, guest speakers, a “teachers vs students” bocce game, a banner unveiling, and more.


“Haverford High School is proud to be the 1st school in Delaware County to be recognized as a Special Olympics Unified Champion School,” said Haverford High School Principal Pete Donaghy. “The entire Haverford community strives to ensure that all students feel there is a place for them in our district, and that they are supported, included, and welcomed. Thank you so much to Special Olympics for bringing unified bocce to not only Haverford but to Delaware County.”

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. Since the program’s inception in 2017 nearly 173 schools nationwide have achieved national banner recognition, including just over 125 schools in 2019.

The primary activities within these standards include: Interscholastic Unified Sports® (where students with and without disabilities train and compete as teammates), Inclusive Youth Leadership and Whole-School Engagement. Banner Unified Champion Schools are also be able to demonstrate that they are self-sustainable or have a plan in place to sustain these activities into the future.

“Unified Sports are important because attitude change naturally occurs when individuals with and without intellectual disabilities are equal teammates,” said Matt Aaron, Special Olympics Pennsylvania President & CEO. “Haverford High School is the true embodiment of what Special Olympics wants a Unified Champion School to be. Haverford High School has demonstrated its commitment to inclusion and has created an atmosphere of respect for all members of the student body and staff.”