Page 9 - JAN 2024
P. 9

January 2024
Page 9
 By Donna rhoDes
CAMPTON – It was an excit- ing day at Campton Elementary School on Dec. 15 when Leisa D’Amour of Special Olympics New Hampshire arrived to pres- ent them with a Special Olym- pics New Hampshire School of Excellence banner for the success of their newly introduced Uni- fied Sports program.
“We are proud of Campton, and you should be proud of yourselves as well,” D’Amour told the crowd gathered in the gym. “We’re also proud of the support of your community.”
Unified Sports is a school- wide inclusionary athletics pro- gram open to all students within a school population, regardless of their skills or capabilities. To- gether, they practice and com- pete as a team while enjoying the camaraderie and friendship it brings to all. The initial focus is on making sure every student
Campton Elementary Shines:
A Unified Recognition Celebration
tivities beyond the playing fields to include clubs, phys ed classes, and more.
Riley Smith is a Special Edu- cation teacher at CES who, with assistance from other faculty and staff members, oversees the CES Unified Sports program and was excited to learn that just entering their third year, they have already earned statewide recognition.
To kick off the celebration, CES principal David Hamnet opened the event with congrat- ulations and an introduction of the 2022-23 Unified Sports basketball team. The energetic group of 22 students then burst through a breakaway banner and ran enthusiastically around the gymnasium in celebration of their recognition.
When everyone settled into their seats, Smith took a moment to congratulate students in the program along with everyone who has supported them since its start.
D’Amour then took the po-
Photos Donna Rhodes
Campton Elementary School was proud to receive a Special Olympics New Hampshire School of Excellence banner from SONH representative Leisa D’Amour last month. Joining her for the presentation were CES Principal David Hamnet, Assistant Principal Laura Ulwick, and Special Education teacher Riley Smith, along with the 22 members of the school’s Unified Basketball team.
 teria points are the development of at least one Unified team (ini- tially basketball in this case), the establishment of inclusive youth leadership, whole school engage-
and sustainability, the school will once again be holding a Penguin Plunge fundraiser in February. Registered participants, be they students, faculty, or staff, are al- ready raising money for the state- wide event. Funds raised by a chilly douse of water in mid-Feb- ruary will not only benefit Spe- cial Olympics New Hampshire events, but a percentage of the money they raise will assist CES Unified programs and activities as well.
Thanks to the Camp- ton-Thornton Fire/Rescue crew in wetting participants down for the Penguin Plunge last Febru- ary, CES was named the 2022- 23 top middle school fundraising team in the state with a total of $18,000 in donations.
“Our goal this year is to raise $20,000 so we can buy adaptive playground equipment for the school,” Smith announced at last week’s celebration.
Another fundraiser for the sustainability of Unified pro- gramming at CES will be a “Si- lent Disco.” Since loud music and noise can upset some stu- dents, attendees of the event will be equipped with headsets so they can hear the music at a personally acceptable level as they all “boogie” the night away together.
When it comes to whole- school engagement, though,
even more has been taking place at CES. Unified members will soon be bringing back the Coffee Cart they started for teachers last year. During the 2022-23 school year, they also sold candy to class- mates, went on an inclusionary field trip to Squam Lakes Science Center in the spring, and took part in other fun activities and fundraisers throughout that year.
As for competitive skills, the CES Unified Basketball team was successful there, too, last year, placing second place in an annual tournament in Belmont, where they competed against other Central New Hampshire middle schools.
The school also has a “Spread the Word” campaign underway where students can sign a pledge to not only be more inclusive in their activities and friendships at school, but in spreading the word through- out their community as well.
Beginning with only basket- ball on their sports agenda and accomplishing so much in just two short years, it might be fair to say that the future looks bright at Campton Elementary School.
“We’re hoping to expand our program even more, and I have a few pipe dreams for future events, too,” said Smith. “Every- one is really excited about this here, especially when they see how big Unified Sports is at the high school.”
 On Dec. 15, students on Campton Elementary School’s Unified Basketball team burst through a breakaway banner as they were introduced during a special celebration.
knows they are a welcomed and respected part of not only the school. While it begins with sports, many schools soon go on to expand their inclusionary ac-
dium to congratulate the school on its successful introduction of inclusive programs by meeting all ten criteria points necessary for recognition as a SONH School of Excellence. Among those cri-
ment, and sustainability for the program. CES had checked off all those boxes by the end of just their second year.
Smith explained that as part of the whole school's engagement

   7   8   9   10   11