Utah First Lady Abby Cox recognizes Cache County Schools for their efforts to include students with disabilities
First Lady Abby Cox visits with athletes on
Mountain Crest's Unified Basketball team
CCSD Director of Special Education Jeni Buist,
First Lady Abby Cox, and Mountain Crest Life
Skills Teachers Danielle Harrop and McKenzie Martindale
On Thursday, October 20th, First Lady Abby Cox visited Mountain Crest High School to present the school with an award for being named a Special Olympics Unified Champion School. After presenting the award, First Lady Cox joined Mountain Crest’s Unified Basketball team in an intense game against faculty members. Unified Sports teams are made up of both students with and without disabilities. With the gym full of cheerleaders, the marching band playing, and a giant student section cheering them on, the Unified Basketball team beat the faculty 42-4.
"Every single person deserves a chance to be included. Every single person deserves a chance to feel love and belonging. That's what you're doing here at Mountain Crest, and it's unbelievable," Cox shared in a speech to the student body. "Thank you so much for being here. Thank you for being who you are. Thank you to Mountain Crest for being an example to the entire state and the nation on what it means to have full school inclusion."
First Lady Abby Cox participates in a Unified Sports class at Heritage Elementary.
Serving over 2,600 students with disabilities, Cache County School District schools strive for inclusion through an emphasis on getting students with disabilities to be with their peers more throughout the school day. Utah's First Lady Abby Cox recognizes the schools' efforts. This month, Cox paid a visit to Heritage Elementary School and also announced an award Mountain Crest High School will receive from the National Unified Sports Program.
On September 1, 2022, Cox visited students with disabilities and staff at Heritage Elementary School. They discussed inclusion, Unified Sports activities, the various programs our schools have, and how important it is for students with disabilities to be with their peers. Students were delighted to have Cox join a Unified Sports gym class, where they participated together in various games and challenges.
On September 12, 2022, Mountain Crest High School received a video from First Lady Abby Cox congratulating them on being recognized as a Special Olympics National Banner Unified Champion School. “I love what these Unified teams do for school culture. They equip each of us to combat stereotypes and stigmas, eliminate hurtful language, and stop bullying,” Cox explained in the video. “They provide an outlet for students of every ability to enjoy healthy activity, competition, and find new friends.” According to the Special Olympics website, the organization gives this award to schools with an “inclusive school climate" and that "exude a sense of collaboration, engagement, and respect for all members of the student body and staff.” Cox will visit Mountain Crest High School on October 20th to present the award.
Jeni Buist, CCSD Director of Special Education, is proud of each school in the district for its efforts to create environments of inclusion. “Everybody is different and has something that makes them special. Our normal is that everyone is different, and we all need to be able to accept that and enjoy those types of things,” Buist explained. “These programs make all of our students more well-rounded and accepting."