Elizabeth Price treasures her time participating in Unified Sports.
“I love being able to do Unified Sports with the athletes, love being able to do something outside of school with them,” the Carmel High School junior said. “It’s something you choose to do and choose to make those relationships with the special needs kids. It gives them the opportunity to wear Carmel’s name across the chest in flag football, track and bocce. It gives us a way to do something with them and not for them. That’s our main goal.”
Unified Sports pairs people with (athletes) and without intellectual disabilities (partners) on the same team.
CHS recently earned recognition as an ESPN Honor Roll school. CHS completed the 10 standards of excellence in creating a nationally recognized Unified Champion School as nominated by Indiana’s Special Olympics program.
Price is one of four Champions Together co-presidents, along with senior Sophie Gates and juniors Audra Marchese and Isabel Larco.
Price is a competitive partner in all the Unified Sports.
“I’ve been involved in Unified Sports since my freshman year and I joined Champions Together my sophomore year,” she said.
Price is one of two students from Indiana and 12 nationally named a United Ambassador for Special Olympics North America. As part of that, she attends Special Olympics student leadership conferences.
Champions Together oversees CHS Unified Sports, which includes track and field, bocce, flag football and bowling.
Champions Together is a collaborative partnership between the Indiana High School Athletic Association and Special Olympics Indiana that promotes servant leadership among student-athletes. It was established in 2012 and CHS has participated each year.
The participation was so high there had to be cuts in flag football this fall.
“We had too many people wanting to participate, which is definitely not a bad thing at all,” Price said. “Our school is very unified and very inclusive. I’m constantly getting questions, ‘How do I join Unified track? How do I get more involved?’”
More than 100 participants are on the track and field team.