High schools across Alberta are combating against the idea that inclusive high schools are impossible.
High schools like Bert Church High School in Airdrie and Bonnyville Centralized High School rallied their school together to host an event that proves that inclusion strengthens schools and elevates students’ understanding of people with intellectual disabilities. They did all this with just a toss of a bean bag.
On March 16 and April 4, Unified Bean Bag Tournaments toss aside intolerance and took on inclusion through sport.
“Each high school really took on the role of being a Unified Sport champion,” said Shanna Kurylo, Unified Sport Program coordinator with Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association.
“Bert Church High School recruited students not just in their sport performance class, but had culinary students catering lunch and shop classes making the boards. Bonnyville Centralized High School kicked off with an opening ceremonies with students singing the national anthem, an army of students volunteering to officiate and score keep and has committed to a multi-year Unified Bean Bag tournament to be rotated with surrounding schools."
Overall, the two host high schools had 116 students competing in the Unified Sports bean bag toss tournament which comprised of students with and without intellectual disabilities. Each student supported and cheered on their teammate’s success and thrived on the competition from their competitors. Each of the schools gyms were filled with cheers, high fives and gasps during playoffs.
This year is the second year of Unified Sports program in Alberta in partnership with Alberta Schools' Athletic Association (ASAA) and is showing great promise and growth with high school students with upcoming events like Unified Bocce in Lethbridge, two Unified Basketball Jamborees in Calgary and Edmonton and Unified Track and Field at ASAA’s Track and Field Provincials. For more information on Unified events or if you’re interested in hosting a Unified event, go to our Unified Sports page.