Maui High receives national Special Olympics recognition

The Maui News – Maui High School has received National Banner Recognition as a Special Olympics Unified Champion School for its efforts to provide inclusive sports and activities for students with and without disabilities, Special Olympics Hawaii has announced.

The Kahului public high school garnered the honor for meeting national standards of excellence in the areas of inclusion, advocacy and respect. The school is among a select group of schools to receive the distinction nationally, and it’s the only Hawaii school recognized.

Maui High School is listed among the ESPN Honor Roll for 2018 — a list of the top 30 schools from across the country as part of the Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools National Recognition Program. Today, ESPN will reveal five Special Olympics Unified Champion schools that will receive a national banner presentation from ESPN.

“We could not be more excited to receive national banner recognition and to be listed as one of the top 30 schools across the country for our work with Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools,” said Jessica Adkins, adviser for Maui High’s Unified Sports program and Sabers United club. “The program that we offer at Maui High is one that is making positive changes in the lives of everyone it reaches. Inclusion is the outcome of our program, but what the students are walking away with are life skills such as learning how to advocate for themselves and others, learning how to relate to others, knowing how and when to show empathy, understanding that everyone has strengths and weakness and that their voice matters. I am extremely proud of the current and former students who have made the program thrive.”

Maui High Principal Jamie Yap attributed the school’s achievement to Adkins’ work.

“The growth and success of this program at our school is a direct result of the persistence and dedication from Ms. Adkins and her students,” he said. “We applaud Adkins’ passion, commitment, vision and leadership in promoting inclusion and tirelessly creating learning opportunities and memorable experiences for our students that are priceless.”

Around 50 Hawaii schools participate in the Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program.