Chino Valley’s Unified Sports team recognized by AIA

Chino Valley High School’s Unified Sports team was recognized earlier this year as senior partner David Gehman was chosen as the Arizona Interscholastic Association Champions Unified Partner of the Year and the school being acknowledged as a National Unified Champion School by Special Olympics USA, according to a news release from Assistant Superintendent Cindy Daniels.

In five years, Chino Valley High School has established a well-rounded program that has changed the climate of the school as well as reached out to other schools in Arizona to assist in their efforts to bring the Unified experience to their communities, Coach Jenda Ballard said in the release. Additionally, Gehman shared how he has been affected by Unified Sports.

“Unified Sports has changed my life and has helped me to understand what God wants me to do in my future,” Gehman said in the release. “The friendships I have made in Unified will last me a lifetime.”

Special Olympics USA recognized CVHS as a National Unified Champion School in June, which it does to schools across the United States that have Unified Sports programs where students compete together in sports. The organization also promotes whole-school engagement and develops sustainable youth leadership.

Chino Valley High School has held several events contributing to the recognition, including the Miracle Minute fundraiser which saw more than $1,000 raised in one minute for the Unified team along with the yearbook titled “We Are Unified,” honoring the school’s efforts to promote inclusion. Coach Luci Swope said she is honored to be part of the team.

“Our athletes and partners have truly ‘unified’ CVHS,” Swope said in the release.

In the fall, CVHS will receive a banner that will be placed in the gym to celebrate the recognition.