At last Thursday’s (Oct. 24) Board of Education meeting Superintendent Kevin Smith recognized the members of the district’s Unified Team for their hard work and dedication, awarding them a Salute to Excellence.

Unified Sports is a registered program of the Special Olympics that pairs athletes with and without intellectual disability (or other developmental delays) on sports teams for training and competition. All Unified Sports teammates are of similar age and teams are placed in competitive divisions based on their skill abilities, ranging from developmental to recreational to competitive.

Wilton High School started with a soccer team four years ago and has now added basketball, track and theater to what is offered to all students.

Melissa Barrett, Wilton’s assistant director of special services, introduced and thanked the adult organizers Daniel Geraghty, Elias Zurita, Lynn Schuster and Emily Rippel. Unified student leader Peyton Matik was also recognized, as were a number of Middlebrook and WHS students who have made the program successful.

Wilton High School alumnus Peter Orfino spoke to what Unified means to him, saying, “I enjoy helping the other teams as well as my own and I enjoy seeing friends from other towns and my own town. There are a lot of people there who I can relate to very much.”

In 2018 Wilton High School was recognized as a National Banner Unified Champion School, for having demonstrated a commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 national standards of excellence. Wilton High School was one of only four schools recognized that year.

Unified meets every Thursday afternoon at 2.45 p.m. at the high school. Busing is available from Middlebrook for all students who wish to get involved. Any Middlebrook or WHS student who would like learn more about the program and get involved for basketball season should reach out to Schuster at Middlebrook or Barrett at the High School.

Pictured above (main image):  Superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith, Lynn Schuster, Chris Finkelstein, Daniel Geraghty, Elias Zurita and a number of WHS and Middlebrook students receive recognition at a Board of Education meeting.