Unified Basketball

Unified basketball is the newest of the three unified sports at GHS. These teams give students with disabilities a chance to be a part of a team.

Senior Paige Spate, who has been a helper with unified sports since her freshman year, explained the significance of unified sports.

“Unified sports are important because it is a way to get kids with disabilities involved in a school-centered activity as well as engaging them with other kids from school. Unified sports are also a way to get them involved with the community and be cheered on just as any other sports team here would,” Spate said. 

Spate loves being involved with the unified teams because it is a chance for everyone to be involved. This year is the fourth year that unified sports have been at GHS.

“My favorite thing about playing unified sports is the fact that everyone gets to be involved. The smile on the kids’ faces because they finally feel that they are a part of something that their other classmates do makes it all worth it,” she said.

Mrs. Alesia Kennedy, a special education aid, talked about how unified sports help make a positive impact on special education students.

“The unified sports here at Greenwood make a positive impact on our kids because they give our kids a chance for exercise, fresh air, to be happy about and look forward to something. A lot of our kids probably just go straight from home to school back to home and being unified really gives them a chance to make friends and develop social skills,” she said.

Mrs. Kennedy is also one of the organizers.

“I have always wanted to coach, and I have been involved in special education for a very long time. Whenever I would be at other schools for sporting events and see unified sports, I would see how happy the kids were. Me and the other special education teachers decided to start unified sports here at Greenwood, and we are so happy we did,” she said.

Sophomore Khup Thang said his favorite memories involve participating. 

He said he enjoyed riding the bus, jamming music and making friends. He also likes catching the ball and running for touchdowns in unified flag football as well as running super fast on the 100 meter dash and jumping super far on the long jump in unified track. Thang looks forward to participating in unified basketball and cannot wait to have fun with his team and make new friends.

Unified basketball will play their games during halftime of GHS’s boys basketball games and organizers hope to continue the success that track and flag football provided.

“The amount of fun that everyone involved in unified sports from the kids playing to the students supporting is really fun to see. I am excited to play during halftime of the basketball games, because there will already be so many people there, and I think the kids will love the energy the crowd is gonna bring, “ Spate said.

Mr. Rick Guipe was the former defensive back coach for the Woodmen football team, but he decided to unretire from coaching to coach the inaugural season of the unified flag football team.

“I got asked to draw up some plays by one of the organizers, and I decided to go ahead and help out because one of my good friends, Mike Lenard, the head coach for the Franklin College football team told me it was a great experience and great for the community. I went to a few practices and I just kept coming back because I loved it so much and was having so much fun,” he said.

Mr. Guipe also talked about his favorite parts of the unified flag football season.

“There were two big things I really liked, going to practices and seeing every single kid try hard and have the biggest smile on their faces. The other thing is the helpers with the athletes, a lot of them have kids with special needs in their families and I really love how well they work with the kids and help them,” he said.