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Special Olympics PA was proud to be honoring George Washington High School for becoming a national unified champion school. George Washington was recognized and honored on Friday, November 16, 2018, after Special Olympics International selected their application to become a National Banner School. In order for a school to become a Unified Champion School, a school must demonstrate and implement Special Olympics Unified Sports, Inclusive Youth Leadership, While-School Engagement, and Sustainability. George Washington High School has done an excellent job at showcasing all of these aspects. George Washington High School is among 132 schools to achieve recognition in 2018.
The ceremony kicked off with a welcoming and introduction from Principal Susan Thompson. The three masters of ceremonies: Isaiah Jackson, Joseph McGinley, and D’angelo Delgado then took over in order to explain what Unified Sports are and why they are an asset to the school. Isaiah introduced the parade of athletes while the band played lively music. The music continued when George Washington students Roger Galati and Kailh McFadden sang the National Anthem, accompanied by Mr. Chen and the George Washington High School Band. Isaiah, Joseph, and D’angelo explained the school’s history and success with unified sports since 2016.
In 2016 members of the George Washington Unified soccer team represented the Philadelphia Union and participated in the MLS Exchange game, winning two gold medals and the Philadelphia Soccer Championships in the two teams’ divisions. By 2017, the competitive track team had finished in fourth place, the developmental team finished in sixth place and the Unified Track and Field Team won Philadelphia’s First Unified Track and Field Championship and finished in second place in 2018. The Unified Bocce Teams won Championships in 2016, 2017, and 2018 while making 3 consecutive trips to the Unified Bocce Championships. Last year the team came in fourth place for the state.
George Washington’s Athletic Director, Ken Geiser gave a speech followed by Dr. Dion Betts who presented Principle Thompson with a Citation. Next, alumna Julie Matthews expressed her gratitude and appreciation for being a partner for two years and was accompanied by students Angel Rosa and Zachery Gender. When this was over, Isaiah introduced a video showcasing some highlights over the last 4 years of the various George Washington High School sports. After the video had played, the George Washington High School Unified Cheerleaders gave an energetic performance. Special Olympics Pennsylvania President and CEO, Matt Aaron continued the celebration and introduced Bettyann Creighton. Bettyann was presented with flowers for all of her years of service to the School District of Philadelphia and Special Olympics once she returned to her seat. Director of Special Olympics Pennsylvania, Chase Trimmer then revealed the banner to the school and the ceremony ended with Isaiah thanking everyone for joining them.
It was an exciting and fun-filled day. We could not be happier that George Washington High School was presented with this banner and are excited to see what more they do with the Unified Champion School status!