Feb. 2, 2017
LEHS one of 8 SC schools to win state Special Olympics award
Only eight schools in South Carolina are being recognized this year by Special Olympics South Carolina for their efforts to provide inclusive sports and activities for students with and without disabilities. Lugoff-Elgin High School (LEHS) is one of those eight.
“It is an honor for our school to receive such recognition, and I am very proud of all of the teachers, students and volunteers that have worked so hard to make sure that every student at LEHS has a positive and rewarding high school experience,” said LEHS Principal Worth Thomasson. “A special thanks to Mrs. Kathy Ross for spearheading this for our school and for the many students that this program has touched.”
The Banner Unified Champion School Award is based on a model supported by the U.S. Department of Education to provide students with and without disabilities an opportunity to form positive social relationships and promote a socially inclusive environment. LEHS is being recognized for meeting national standards of excellence in the areas of inclusion, advocacy and respect.
“We are very honored and excited to be one of the eight schools recognized as a Banner Unified Champion School in only our second year of being involved in the Unified program,” said LEHS special education teacher Kathy Ross. “LEHS students, teachers and staff demonstrate an acceptance of our students with special needs that I have not seen in any other school I have worked in. The recognition we are receiving is based on a schoolwide desire to help the students with special needs have positive and exciting experiences that mirror their own experiences in high school.”
LEHS offers a wide variety of experiences for students of all abilities to interact. General education students serve as mentors in special education students’ physical education classes on a daily basis. The school’s Hospitality and Management class includes both special education and general education students learning together.The school’s “Be A Fan” Club has raised money for Special Olympics basketball uniforms and organized a lunch buddy program that pairs general education students with students that have special needs.
The school’s “Be A Fan” Club has raised money for Special Olympics basketball uniforms and organized a lunch buddy program that pairs general education students with students that have special needs.
“The Be A Fan Club could not have done as many activities without the help and assistance of our principal Mr. Thomasson and the coaches and teachers who are always willing to help in any way requested,” Ross said. “This has been a great honor that I know we will continue to work toward receiving each year.”
The entire LEHS student body participates in a send-off for Special Olympic athletes who are attending the Kershaw County spring games by lining the hallways and cheering as the students parade through the school to their buses.
LEHS has hosted its own basketball and bocce tournaments for special needs athletes from across the Midlands and has participated in competitions at other local schools. The school held a Young Athletes Day for four West Wateree area elementary special needs classes. LEHS cheerleaders, ROTC students and chorus have also joined in these efforts.
LEHS students from LEAPS—Lugoff-Elgin Athletes Providing Service—organized the first-ever prom for special need students for all three Kershaw County high schools in the spring of 2016. “A Night to Remember” dinner and dance is being held in a few weeks for special education and general education students.
An award presentation will take place at LEHS in the next few months, and the school will receive a banner to display for its award.
Photo caption: LEHS students in the school’s “Be A Fan” club enjoy the opportunity to get to know each other better through sports and school activities.