Thirteen ECLC students visited Chatham High School on Friday, January 11th for the first ECLC-CHS Learn Unified event, organized by the Play Unified Club of ECLC and CHS.
“I think this is an amazing event for both Chatham and ECLC students, for it allows Chatham students to closely bond with a ECLC student as they welcome them into our high school community," Olivia LeRoy, Play Unified club president, said. "This program also introduces ECLC to Chatham students who aren’t involved in our activity nights broadening the scope of our club and truly bringing our two communities together.
"By bringing our ECLC friends into Chatham High school, I learned a lot about how different ECLC students daily schedule...I hope Learn Unified expands to impact not just our club members but to every student we pass in the hall and to every teacher that welcomes us into their classroom.”
The ECLC students partnered with CHS students to attend classes from 9:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at CHS. ECLC students attended English, Art, Spanish, and History classes with their CHS hosts. The students also enjoyed lunch with CHS students during the regularly scheduled lunch block.
The event was part of the Play Unified club, a joint endeavor between CHS and ECLC that is part of the national organization called Unified Sports. The mission of this organization is to “promot[e] social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences” among people with and without intellectual disabilities. The Unified Sports mission “was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.”
The Play Unified club of CHS and ECLC plans to make these Learn Unified events a regular part of the club’s activities.
“I am so thrilled to get this new monthly event off the ground," Christine Cavallo, CHS Play United club advisor and special education teacher, said. "The inclusive social events and unified sports the club participates in are great, but having one day a month where our students get to cherish the relationships they've made during the school day, instead of on the weekends or evenings, is really special.
"Seeing all the club members from both schools enjoying lunch together - whether it was chatting at the lunch tables, or attending club meetings, or going off to lab together - the day was filled with a lot of smiles. I hope that as Learn Unified becomes more of a regular monthly occurrence, we see all the students in the building looking forward to seeing some familiar friendly faces on these special Learn Unified Fridays.”
For more information about Play Unified, please visit http://www.playunified.org.