Coed Unified Track · Perry Unified Falcons Receive National Award

Perry Meridian Unified Falcons are one of fourteen Indiana schools to receive national recognition from Special Olympics for achievements with the inclusion of students with special needs.

“Special Olympics North America has announced that 14 Indiana schools will receive national banner recognition for their efforts to engage students with and without intellectual disabilities in inclusive activities during the 2018-2019 school year. The schools are all participants in Special Olympics Indiana’s Unified Champion Schools and Champions Together programs and are being honored for meeting national standards of excellence in the areas of inclusion, advocacy, and respect.

Indiana’s National Unified Champion Banner schools are:  Blackford Jr.-Sr. High School, Carmel High School, Carroll High School (Fort Wayne), Columbus East High School, East Noble High School, Fishers High School, Goshen High School, Harrison High School (West Lafayette), Mooresville High School, Muncie Central High School, North Side High School (Fort Wayne), Perry Meridian High School, South Ripley High School, and West Lafayette High School.

The schools are among a select number across the nation to receive this distinction, and each will be presented with a banner to hang in their school this fall. One of the 14 schools will be further recognized as part of the “ESPN Honor Roll” for 2019, listed among the top 34 inclusive schools in the nation.”

Here at Perry Meridian High School, teacher Maggie Cooper heads the Falcon United Champions Together program which is associated with the IHSAA.  Introduced in the fall of 2015 to then Juniors Erika Shellenberger and Timmy Annee the Perry Meridian program initially consisted of a Unified Track team the following spring.  The Unified Falcons qualified for the State Finals meet that first season and repeated the feat the following two years.  Falcons United has added opportunities to compete in bowling, basketball, baseball, and this fall flag football.   The Falcons United brings together student-athletes and students with disabilities on the same team to compete in athletic contests.  These student-athletes with special needs earn varsity letters and proudly wear varsity jackets in the same hallways as their fellow students.  Through the partnership of Falcons United and the Perry Meridian High School administration, Ms. Cooper has also incorporated school-wide initiatives such as the Plane Pull Challenge, the Polar Plunge, ending the use of the R-word, and the inclusion revolution.

Champions Together information
Champions Together
 is a collaborative partnership between the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) and Special Olympics Indiana that promotes servant leadership among student-athletes while empowering students of all abilities to become agents of change through the implementation of Special Olympics’ Unified Champion Schools programming. Since 2012, Champions Together has facilitated inclusive student leadership, whole-school engagement activities, and enabled students with and without intellectual disabilities to represent their schools in Unified Sports® officially sanctioned by the IHSAA.

Fourteen Indiana Schools to Receive National Recognition from Special Olympics for Achievements with Inclusion


For the full press release from Special Olympics Indiana: