Unified Sports Program


Steinbach, Gesine

(Image taken by Steinbach, Gesine)

D11 steps into a new era by hosting Unified Bowling two Wednesdays in the month of January.  Unified Bowling gives all types of students a chance to get involved in sports. Coronado, Mitchell, Doherty, and Palmer met at Peak Bowling, and everyone involved had a blast.
Currently more than 2,000 schools in 48 states have Unified Sports programs. But it hasn’t always been this way; in the 1960’s American students with disabilities were isolated in separate schools, then separate classrooms. Society has come a long way since then; 20 years later, it’s the first time that students with disabilities have been able to be part of the sports and academic communities and share the same learning experience as the average student. According to Gesine Steinbach, “When I grew up I didn’t even know of a person with a disability; I knew nothing about them.” She calls this a tragedy because, “They can give so much to our society, through the joy and happiness they possess.”

The Unified Sports bowling event was a huge success; it paired regular education partners with the students with disablities. Steinbach said, “It brought a lot of joy to the students, it taught them social skills, and how to integrate into our community.”

To get a perspective from a student, I interviewed Sam Bustillos, a regular education student at Palmer. Sam is involved in Student Council as the Secretary of Morale. He also plays football, hockey and track. He says he appreciates the community at Palmer the most, and he decided to go to the event because it “sounded like a cool gig and a lot of fun.” I asked him what he liked the most about the Unified Sports program, and he said “It is wholesome, and…no one was really there to…try to seriously compete.” It was a fun experience for all.