2017-2018 MHS & MSHS Basketball Teams

Unified Sports are BACK!

By Marty Bitter, MUSD Athletic Director

In 2016, Madera Unified piloted a program along with Fresno Unified to formulate Unified Sports teams. Unified sports is a branch of the Special Olympics. It is a combination of Unified Athletes (our special needs students who would not otherwise qualify for a current school offered sports team) and Unified Partners (our general education students) participating on the same team. The program started out small as our students competed in soccer and a few events in track and field. In fact, Madera South High School had the first Unified Shot Put team in California history! The 2018 school year brings on our second year of competitive Unified Sports. We now compete in the CMAC (County Metro Athletic League) which consists of Madera, Madera South, Bullard and Edison just like our regular sports teams do. The teams compete in the fall in Coed Soccer, Basketball, and Track in the spring. As our high school athletic directors and coaches would attest it has been one of the most rewarding experiences we have had the chance to be involved with. Andrea Devine the Athletic Director at Madera South calls her Unified program, “Priceless”! Madera High Athletic Director John Fernandez echoes the sentiments saying, “Unified sports is inspired by a simple principle that training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.” John continued to say that at Madera High School, Unified sports were another step their school has taken to continue to enhance their culture and support the district’s vision of “We Believe.” Unified sports have allowed our special needs students to display their talents and develop friendships that have enlightened their overall high school experience. When these young men and women compete together, our hearts fill with joy as we witness the determination of our unified athletes and the smiles of our unified partners. It is moments like these that exemplify our Coyote P.R.I.D.E!” We hope to see this program continue and grow in the years to come! This vision of inclusion has the ability to change the culture of our campuses and community. We have been able to witness our special needs students become more involved on campus with our general education students as well as our general education students become much more tolerant of others around our campuses. I would like to encourage anyone in our community to come out and watch these wonderful athletes have the time of their lives playing the sports that they love! You will see the cheerleaders, inflatable tunnels, and painted signs encouraging these wonderful young students.

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