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New inclusive sport at NPHS

Seniors+Nathan+Franz+and+Jared+Gies+and+sophomore+Shelby+Yoshida+warm+up+before+a+race%2C+at+their+first+meet+in+Scottsbluff+on+Saturday%2C+March+23.+The+three+of+them+also+participated+in+Unified+Bowling+in+the+fall.+Photo+courtesy+of+Nathan+Franz.
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Seniors Nathan Franz and Jared Gies and sophomore Shelby Yoshida warm up before a race, at their first meet in Scottsbluff on Saturday, March 23. The three of them also participated in Unified Bowling in the fall. Photo courtesy of Nathan Franz.

Seniors Nathan Franz and Jared Gies and sophomore Shelby Yoshida warm up before a race, at their first meet in Scottsbluff on Saturday, March 23. The three of them also participated in Unified Bowling in the fall. Photo courtesy of Nathan Franz.

Seniors Nathan Franz and Jared Gies and sophomore Shelby Yoshida warm up before a race, at their first meet in Scottsbluff on Saturday, March 23. The three of them also participated in Unified Bowling in the fall. Photo courtesy of Nathan Franz.

Seniors Nathan Franz and Jared Gies and sophomore Shelby Yoshida warm up before a race, at their first meet in Scottsbluff on Saturday, March 23. The three of them also participated in Unified Bowling in the fall. Photo courtesy of Nathan Franz.

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North Platte High School is one of about 30 Nebraska schools to welcome unified track as the next inclusive sport, according to senior Nathan Franz.

Still in its exhibition year, unified track is similar to Unified Bowling. “An athlete and a partner will compete in different events, the 100m dash, the 4×1 relay, and the long jump,” Franz said.

The first meet was in Scottsbluff on March 23, but North Platte will also host a meet. The team will compete at the State track meet in May as well.  

Unified sports are a part of a bigger campaign to create a more inclusive setting at our school. This year unified bowling and track were offered, next year they will be joined by unified coed cheer-leading.

North Platte High School, along with every other school in our district, became a Unified Champion School last summer. The Special Olympics Unified Champion schools program aims at creating school climates where students with disabilities feel welcome, and are routinely included in activities, opportunities, and functions. “There’s three components to a Unified Champion school,” Franz said, “You have inclusive leadership, whole school engagement, and then unified sports.”

Franz said he feels strongly that unified sports are a great opportunity to make connections even if you’re not a gifted athlete. “Whether you’re the best athlete or the worst, you’re still going to have a lot of fun,” the senior said.

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