Wake Forest High School recognized as a top school for inclusiveness, honored by Special Olympics

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Wake Forest High School (WFHS) is winning praise for multiple athletic accomplishments.

The football team won its third consecutive football championship Friday, and the school was named one of 100 Unified Champion Schools by the Special Olympics.

ESPN College Game Day's Jen Lada was at WFHS on Monday to celebrate the school's Unified Champion School designation.

"We spend so much time at ESPN and even on our local level, highlighting the athletes and the people who win championships and bring home big trophies. But these are students who are doing remarkable things on a daily basis," Lada said.

A Unified Champion School is a school that has an inclusive atmosphere and "exudes a sense of collaboration, engagement and respect for all members of the student body and staff."

"ESPN sponsors the track program, and we have our own little track team and they have buddies. They run through the track meets just like the regulars. They get scores and they go on to the state meet with the regular ed track team," WFHS special needs teacher Gail Tucker said.

"We're teaching inclusion, and that's not something that was always popular. That's not something that was always in vogue. And I'm so thrilled that ESPN has been on board, with making it more acceptable," Lada said.

WFHS received a schoolwide parade as well as a banner from ESPN and the Special Olympics.

WFHS is one of two schools in the Triangle area to receive the honor. Sycamore Creek Elementary is the other school. It is one of only three elementary schools in the country to be recognized.

"We're putting a big spotlight on these type of people, who are showing character in their daily lives, on a daily basis. Not just by bringing trophies home at the end of the season," Lada said.
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