Respect rally draws 300 to Hilhi
Pair of seniors join Special Olympics Oregon to focus on respect, acceptance
Roughly 300 people turned out Saturday at Hillsboro High School to show a little Respect.
Aretha Franklin wasnt singing, but Cam Lasley, a local rapper with Down syndrome, was on hand to entertain the crowd.
Hillsboro High School seniors Tyrell Woodland and Maria Ochoa organized the rally, in collaboration with Special Olympics Oregons Respect Campaign, to promote awareness and acceptance of students with intellectual disabilities.
In addition, the rally was a kickoff no pun intended for the start of the Unified Sports Soccer High School League through Special Olympics Oregon, a league comprised of students with and without intellectual disabilities. This is the first Unified Sports high school league created by Special Olympics Oregon in which athletes represent their schools.
The league consists of eight teams, including Hilhi, Glencoe, Liberty, Forest Grove and four others from the Portland metro area.
We wanted to get people involved in an area that isnt recognized enough at our school, Woodland said. Disabled kids are just the same as other kids.
Ochoa and Woodland are members of the schools leadership team. Its been a focus of the team this year to promote inclusion of fellow students with disabilities at school events.
Tyrell and Maria are both committed to promoting inclusion at Hillsboro High School, said Alix Wasteney, Project Unify coordinator for Special Olympics Oregon.
They believe that every student should be accepted and treated with respect no matter what their differences. They wanted to organize the rally to educate their student body and other school communities about the importance of creating an inclusive school environment where every student feels accepted.
The day started with a group rally, followed by entertainment, including Hilhis breakdancers, and finished with a round robin soccer tournament.
Having such a diverse school is eye-opening to us, Woodland said. Through the youth rally we hope to promote the Respect Campaign and inspire everyone to take our message back to their schools and create positive change.
Woodland said he was pleased with the turnout at the rally.
To learn more, visit projectunify.org.Add a comment