ESPN honors Service High special education program
Service High School's special education program has received several awards over the years -- and it's about to add one more honor, courtesy of ESPN.
Special education students received jerseys from hockey players back in January.
The team them auctioned off later to raise funds for the program as part of the annual "Superhero Day" program. It's a big reason why ESPN named Service as one of this year's Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools.
"It's an extreme honor to be recognized by such a wonderful entity as ESPN, and Special Olympics North, so, it's super cool to hear for the kids' sake they're being recognized for all the inclusive things they do to make our school a better place," said Special Education Coordinator Adam Ahonen.
The "Superhero Day" program fulfilled one of ten categories Service met to receive the honor.
Sierra Selwig is a senior at the school, and has volunteered every year to help special education students. She is also one of the students who applied for the award.
"We're all people, no one's different, we're all equal," said Selwig.
Special Olympics Alaska hopes other schools can learn from Service's example.
"Those general ed students are going to go on and continue their lives as future employers for Special Olympics athletes, they're going to be future legislators who are going to be advocating for people with special needs," said Special Olympics Alaska Vice-Presdient Sara Arts. It's just super important they're be inclusive in their school on accepting the abilities of all people, rather than focusing on their disability."
Helwig sees another benefit.
"I'm still friends with past seniors who have graduated, I've been friends with them since freshman year," said Helwig, who along with others, have put a lot of time into helping their classmates. They've been rewarded for those efforts. They have been honored again, in a way none of them imagined.
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