Woodrow Wilson School was proud to initiate the Play UNIFIED movement last year. The 2015-2016 school year marked the first year embarking on a unified journey with the NJ Special Olympics. Mrs. Lazovick (School Counselor) and Mrs. Mercedes (School Social Worker) began with creating a Woodrow Wilson Play UNIFIED Leadership Council that consisted of selected 6th-8th graders that met weekly for leadership and life skills training. This weekly training was the foundation for the lessons and activities that followed. Play UNIFIED is about creating respect and understanding amongst ALL people.
The Woodrow Wilson Play UNIFIED Leadership Council teamed up early in the year with the New Brunswick High School Play UNIFIED Leadership Council. They attending leadership training throughout the year hosted by the NJ Special Olympics. Not only were the students able to work on building relationships and skills within the group, but they were able to support each other when presenting in front of larger audiences. Students with and without intellectual disabilities were highlighted throughout the year for their efforts to unify schools.
Woodrow Wilson participated in unified bowling, football, and boccie events throughout the year. Students encouraged each other, celebrating their differences and similarities. The Play UNIFIED Leadership Council served as role models and exemplified kindness and compassion above all. They created a Respect video for their school that was shown on May 23rd at their first annual Respect Ceremony. The ceremony was student led and held for all 3rd through 8th grade students. All students and staff received a t-shirt that said JUDGE FREE ZONE, emphasizing the students’ message. The day culminated in a student-led Disability Awareness Fair for the Woodrow Wilson faculty. The NBHS Play UNIFIED Leadership Council took the lead on this activity and modeled for Woodrow students how to advocate for people with disabilities.
On June 10th, New Brunswick was represented at the NJ Play UNIFIED Youth Leadership Summit at The College of NJ. In addition to presenting to representatives from around the state, Woodrow Wilson and New Brunswick HS students were invited to participate in the opening ceremonies of the Summer Games. It was a special honor appreciated by all!
The Woodrow Wilson students are looking forward to another year of making a difference!! They have become FANS of ACCEPTANCE!!