Unified Soccer Day Brings all Students Together


Ashley Alexander

Tytus Henegar, center, watching the ball on Unified Soccer Day.

Inclusion is what Unified Soccer Day is all about.

Unified Soccer Day was held Jan. 17 and doubled its participants from last year. Unify is a five year old club based around spreading awareness, inclusion, and happiness to all CHS students. 

Freshmen, Tytus Henegar’s, favorite part of Unified Soccer day is “hitting the ball.” Unified Soccer Day brings all students together doing an exciting activity that all can enjoy. It may seem small, but the impact is huge. 

It all started with French and English Teacher Jessica Purdum and Special Education Teacher Sarah Call when they teamed up with student council for Spread-The-Word-To-End-The-Word campaign. After that, unified basketball and swimming were played. And in the following year, the club began. 

“It [bringing unified soccer day to CHS] feels awesome,” said Purdum. “I love everything about Special Olympics and Project Unify.” 

But where did the idea for a Unified Soccer Day come from? Two years ago, the club applied for a grant, and with that money, they went to Baku, Azerbaijan for the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics. When there, they came up with the idea for the Unified Soccer Day due to there being a soccer exposition. 

“So when we came back we thought Yep, this is what we want to do, so we did that last year, and then it was so much fun that we wanted to continue it this year,” said Purdum.

Unified Soccer Day is not the only unified sport that occurs during the year. In the fall, there’s a soccer team and bowling. In the winter, there’s nordic and alpine skiing and snowshoeing. And then in the spring, there’s the Special Olympics which consists of basketball, track, and swimming. 

Not only are Purdum and Call the two representatives of the club, there is also a leadership team, consisting of a representative from each grade level. 

Sophomore Kinley Bollinger started as a member of Unify but slowly became a member of the leadership board.

“I think they’re [Unified Sports] very necessary because kids are able to see these athletes aren’t that different from us,” said Bollinger. “We all just want to have fun and be accepted and have a good time, and I think that’s what Soccer Day shows.”  

Anyone is welcome to join Project Unify. Those interested should watch for the next monthly meeting. . The next big events are the Jackalope Jump and Area Games. 

“I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to do with just our tiny little group and the fact that we’re nationally recognized is a huge deal. And everyone’s just so awesome and positive I love it. I love it,” said Purdum.