Two Trail Ridge Middle School (TRMS) Unified Bowling teams won the gold and silver medals at this year’s Special Olympics State Bowling event.
On Friday, November 18, 2023, just over 600 bowlers from across the state came together to showcase their bowling skills and celebrate the joy of the sport.
TRMS has a robust Unified Bowling program that is led by Becci Warren, special education teacher and Unified coach. While two teams won the top spots, about 20 athletes (Significant Support Needs students) and partners (general education students) participated in this season of Unified Bowling. They practiced at Centennial Lanes on Tuesdays after school from September – November and competed against each other and other schools in the state.
Warren loves to see her students working together and having fun. She shared one of her favorite moments from the season, “One of the athletes needed to use a rack because the ball was too heavy for him to bowl with and his partner helped him set up and then the athlete pushed the ball down the lane. It was rolling slowly and seemed to last forever. Then all of a sudden, STRIKE. Both the athlete and the partner were jumping up and down. It was such a great moment and so cool to see.”
Trail Ridge Middle School is a Special Olympics National Unified Champion School and was one of 37 schools nationwide to be selected for the 2022 ESPN Honor Roll School Award.
In order to earn the national banner school designation, the school must demonstrate a commitment to inclusion by achieving 10 standards of excellence. This is accomplished by offering unified sports, unified clubs/groups, as well as getting the whole school engaged in promoting inclusion. To maintain their banner status, they’ll have to reapply every four years.
There are so many benefits to having an inclusive program, especially at the middle school level. “Unified is an opportunity for students with significant needs to participate in extracurricular activities with other students who have similar disabilities. It also is an opportunity for students without disabilities to develop leadership skills and be the best cheerleaders for the athletes. It creates an atmosphere of positivity in the school and in the community,” Warren said.
In addition to a strong SSN and Unified bowling program, TRMS offers a variety of Special Olympic Unified Sports, such as basketball and soccer.