A Special Olympics Unified Champion School has an inclusive school climate and exudes a sense of collaboration, engagement and respect for all members of the student body and staff.

A Unified Champion School receiving national banner recognition is one that has demonstrated commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 national standards of excellence. These standards were developed by a national panel of leaders from Special Olympics and the education community and this past year 8 New Jersey Schools received the honor.

One New Jersey university, two middle schools, and five New Jersey high schools were recognized as National Banner Unified Champion Schools this past year.

Rowan University, which was the first college in the entire country to receive the a banner, celebrated back in November. The banner presentation at the Rowan REC Center was celebrated with a pep rally, Unified basketball game, and inspiring speeches. ESPN also joined along for the festivities, as ESPN reporter Michele Steele played host to the event.

Click here for Photos from the pep rally

The celebrations continued throughout the month of November and into December as the following schools celebrated their distinction: Woodrow Wilson Middle School-Clifton, Voorhees High School, Old Bridge High School, Monroe Township High School, Hamilton High West, Burnet Middle School, and Union City High School.

Students from Hamilton West raise up their banner.

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