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Special Olympics North Carolina will host a national banner presentation for Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, on Monday, April 18 for their efforts to provide inclusive sports and activities for students with and without disabilities as a Special Olympics Unified Champion School®.

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.

Location: Cameron Indoor Stadium

Parking: Complementary parking will be available in Card Gym Lot, accessible via 330 Towerview Road. Guests may access the parking lot after 4:30 p.m.

Date and Time: Monday, April 18
5:15 p.m. – Doors Open
5:30 p.m. – Celebration

Event Check-In: Prior to arrival, any individuals NOT affiliated with Duke University, must check in to the event via Duke Rec Check-In. Through this link, guests will be asked to upload a negative COVID test or a COVID vaccination card for verification. A quick video tutorial can be found here. Access to check-in will begin on April 15 at 8 a.m.

Media Information: For more information, contact Isabella Williams at or (919)-719-7662 ext. 129.

The national banner celebration will precede Duke’s Unified Basketball Championship Game. Special Olympics Unified® Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team to promote social inclusion through shared sports experiences. Unified teams are made up of people of similar age and ability. 

Participating students are members of the Special Olympics College Club at Duke. Special Olympics College Clubs function as an official student organization on campus and are led by students with and without intellectual disabilities. Many clubs also allow Special Olympics athletes from the community to participate as athlete leaders.

On March 26, the Special Olympics College Clubs at Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill competed in the Duke vs. UNC-Chapel Hill Special Olympics Unified Rivalry Basketball Game.

In addition to Duke University, the following North Carolina schools are receiving national banner recognition for their efforts in creating inclusive communities as a Special Olympics Unified Champion School for the 2020-2021 school year:

  • Charles P. Murray Middle School, New Hanover County
  • Idlewild Elementary School, Mecklenburg County
  • Francis Bradley Middle School, Mecklenburg County
  • Green Hope High School, Wake County

These schools will be amongst a select number to receive this distinction. They will be presented with a banner to hang in their school and be included on a list of other schools around the country who have achieved this distinguished status.

More than 575 schools are currently participating in Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools programming in North Carolina, as a part of more than 7,500 schools across the country engaged in the program. Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools aims to expand to 10,000 schools by the end of the 2023 - 2024 school year.

The primary activities within these schools include: Special Olympics Unified Sports® (where students with and without disabilities train and compete as teammates), Inclusive Youth Leadership and Whole-School Engagement. National banner schools should also be able to demonstrate they are self-sustainable or have a plan in place to sustain these activities into the future.

About Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® 

Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® is a program for schools Pre-K through university that intentionally promotes meaningful social inclusion by bringing together students with and without intellectual disabilities to create accepting school environments, utilizing three interconnected components: Special Olympics Unified Sports®, inclusive youth leadership, and whole school engagement.

About Special Olympics North Carolina
Since 1968, the organization has used the transformative power of sports to improve the lives of children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Nearly 40,000 athletes in North Carolina inspire thousands of coaches, sports officials, local program committee members and event organizers involved in Special Olympics statewide. SONC offers year-round training and competition in 20 Olympic-type sports on local and state levels as well as health and wellness initiatives to improve the health status and increase access to community health resources for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Youth become agents of change through Unified Champion Schools, an education and sports-based program created by Special Olympics to build an inclusive environment among youth with and without intellectual disabilities as well as empower them to become youth leaders and create change in their community. Visit Special Olympics North Carolina at Engage with us on TwitterInstagramFacebook and YouTube.