On Friday afternoon, Cranston High School West was celebrated as a Special Olympics Unified Champion School.
A banner marking the distinction was unveiled during a pep rally and ceremony that included current students, staff, honored guests and alumni in the school’s Alumni Auditorium.
The school was one of just eight across the state and 135 nationwide to be recognized as a school that exemplifies inclusion of all students.
The event began with a special luncheon for students and staff in the Unified Sports, Unified Falcons and Best Buddies programs at West. Catering was provided by the Cranston Area Career and Technical Center’s Culinary Arts Pathways program.
The pep rally featured several speakers, including CEO of Rhode Island Special Olympics CEO Dennis DeJesus, Mayor Allan Fung, Channel 12’s Mike Montecalvo, Principal Tom Barbieri, students Hannah Flynn and Nancy Houde from the Best Buddies program at West, and alumnus Tom Marcello and his mother, Deb. There was also recognition of the students on the Unified Sports teams.
The event additionally featured performances from the marching band and drama program, a poetry reading from Best Buddies students and a sign language interpretation of the national anthem by fifth-grader Caden Baum from Orchard Farms Elementary School.