Inspirational quotes, posters hanging around the school, a giant banner overflowing with signatures, and a sea of students sporting “end the R-word” t-shirts. I bet you thought you had seen it all during Inclusive Schools Week here at Hanover High School, but not so. The unified basketball game Monday night was the grand finale of events designed to showcase how HHS strives to create a safe learning environment for students of all abilities.
Mrs. Gately, a Spanish teacher at HHS and the creator of the Friendship Connection Club, has been leading practices for weeks with her team of players from both the boys and girls basketball teams, student volunteers, and students from the Life Skills program at HHS. The team practiced their shooting and passing, and bonded on the court before the big game.
As 6:30 on Monday rolled around, the team donned their yellow “Hanover Unified” t-shirts and warmed up in the gym as fans filtered in and filled the stands. Parents, teachers, and a great showing of students came to cheer on the team against Abington’s unified team. National Honor Society and student council members, the entire hockey team, and representatives from various other sports and clubs packed the bleachers of the gym. A round of applause went up for each member of the team as they were announced, and the energy in the gym was extremely positive throughout the night.
Despite a 36-28 win by Abington, Hanover kept a positive mentality and upbeat attitude until the very end. Not only was it an amazing game to watch, but a life- changing event to participate in. Hanover basketball varsity starter Meaghan Raab stated, “It was the most positive environment I have ever played in, how could you not have a good time?” That’s saying something, because Meg has seen many basketball games in her lifetime!
“It was the best thing I have ever been a part of,” varsity player Lissy Delahunt exclaimed after the timer sounded. “I had so much fun!”
Mrs. Gately called it “one of the best nights of my teaching career with the most special kids.”
Based on the feedback from students and the huge fan section, we can definitely expect to see more unified games in Hanover High School’s future!