The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

THS United Champion Club Participates in Special Olympics

THS+United+Champion+Club+Participates+in+Special+Olympics

On January 25, the members of the Unified Champion Club (UCC) took a trip to Bowler City, located in Hackensack, with TMS students who are involved in the Special Olympics program. The purpose of the trip was for members to better understand the club and to have a fun time with the middle schoolers. 

The Special Olympics is an organization that provides sports training and athletic competitions in various sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The UCC program was created to move its mission into high schools to fully promote inclusion for people with special needs, and it was founded with the intention of “making social inclusion for students with intellectual disabilities a district-wide collaborative effort by organizing game days, sports clinics, and fun events,” said Anna Buchanan (’25), president of the Unified Champion club. “We want to encourage students with special needs to join and become peers as club members, break down social barriers, develop their athletic skills, and be able to make lasting connections.”

Upon arrival at Bowler City, all were excited and subtly designated themselves with a buddy. The bonds between high schoolers and middle schoolers were deepening simultaneously. Although more than 40 students and staff filled the bowling aisles, orderliness ruled the room. While no rules were established, all were silently following the unspoken rules of friendliness and politeness. The interior is inclusive, featuring a bar and an arcade, providing a platform of socialization for people of all ages. Alongside the interior, the bowling alleys are decorated with eye-catching cartoons and are freshly oiled, paving the way for the fun time that the students would later share. 

Eyeing the rotating score count projected on each monitor, students felt a sense of involvement and pride in their progress. They were all eager to race against each other for the highest score while not competitively comparing themselves to one another. Applause followed after strikes, yet praise also filled the voids. At the end of the trip, everyone joined together back at Tenafly Middle School for a pizza party to seal off the joy. 

Behind all the fun students shared are the club presidents, members, and staff who helped make this happen. “The one-day trip took a surprising amount of effort,” said Buchanan. “Planning actually began in November with the help of Ms. Williams, our club’s advisor. We scheduled a meeting with the middle school teachers and Mr. Fabbo when we started brainstorming, and from there we had to call the transportation company, catering, and get an invoice from the bowling alley. Ms. Laura Gemignani, the middle school teacher, was kind enough to come to one of our club meetings to talk about her students and how the club members should properly interact with them.” 

Despite the amount of work that each put in, the results were immensely worth it. In fact, the club is excited and eager for the planning of future events. “We want to continue to plan and coordinate events with the self-contained classes at the Tenafly Middle School and elementary schools,” said Buchanan. “These will include a field day and game and sports clinics. The UC Club would also like to explore the possibility of planning a dance for the middle school class, engaging students with and without disabilities to interact on a fun social level.”

The Unified Champion Club created a harmonious relationship among the THS and TMS students. It provided students with an opportunity to understand and learn about children who roam free in their imaginations and inspire heart-warming peals of laughter in people. At the same time, the children were able to openly talk to the high schoolers and share about their days. In short, everyone had a ball (pun intended). 

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Zoe Sun, Staff Writer
Zoe Sun ('25) enjoys reading current events and is excited to write pieces focusing on student life, entertainment, and current events for The Echo.