Wenatchee High School is a school with a strong sense of community, but over the past two years this feeling of community has intensified.
This year Wenatchee High School created its first ever Unified Basketball team. This team was made in response to the positive and encouraging feedback that was given from the creation of last year's Unified Soccer team. Under the coaching of Eric Kuntz, high school students, including ASB officers and school athletes, are partnered with special education students. The Wenatchee team has 10 athletes with 8 partners and consists of both boys and girls. The team practices twice a week and participates in local tournaments on the weekends playing teams from surrounding cities. They typically get to play 3 to 4 games each tournament. The Special Olympics provided the players with jerseys, basketballs and other equipment.
The first ever unified basketball game in Wenatchee was held on January 13th. The game was against our across the river rivals, Eastmont High School. This event was a huge success. A huge number of fans turned out to cheer on the teams. The Wenatchee High School band and cheerleaders were on hand to encourage and support the teams. Sports Medicine students were there to help out as well. The environment was made to be just like the environment at a boys varsity game. The final score was Wenatchee 52 to Eastmont 41 but everyone walked away feeling like a winner.
All unified basketball team members were honored at a school assembly. During the assembly the team was separated into two teams and they played a short game of basketball as the whole student body cheered them on. The students donated $650 during the assembly to help fund the Special Education Prom that will be held in the spring. The team will also have the honor of opening the local Harlem Globetrotters game.
This new adventure has been meet with very positive results. The support for the local community has been amazing. The smiles on the players’ faces during the games shows how much fun they are having. The goals of the team are to have fun, promote physical health and bring people together, and this team has definitely reached those goals!