Since 2013, Special Olympics New York (SONY) and the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) have offered Unified Champion Schools programming through interscholastic Unified Sports and inclusive youth leadership clubs to NYSPHSAA member schools. Special Olympics New York provides initial seed funding, training for coaches, advisors and youth leaders, and ongoing technical support and rules interpretation.

Unified Sports is an inclusive sports program that unites individuals with intellectual disabilities (athletes) and without intellectual disabilities (partners) as teammates for training and competition. Each week we want to recognize an athlete and partner who embody the spirit of Unified Sports. This week our honorees are athlete Noah Borzynski and his partner Zac Meranto from Niagara Falls High School, and their student coach Alisiana Muscoreil!

 

Karyn Morrison, who nominated Noah and Zac, remarked about the pair changing the making a difference on the Unified team:

Noah provides a spark and joy to the team. He loves to entertain others with his songs. Zac comes early to practice to hang out with the athletes and goes the extra mile to include everyone by passing the ball or helping Noah down the court and helping him get into position. He always has kind words and a high five for everyone.

In regards to how Noah and Zac have changed the dynamic of their school, Karyn said:

Noah has helped to make others aware of the many different students we have at Niagara Falls High School and how much they all have in common. Zac has been the voice of Unified Sports at Niagara Falls High School. He has recruited many other partners to be a part of our program.

Brian Pane, who nominated Alisiana, praised her:

Alisiana has been a large contributor to the Unified program. She has volunteered the last two seasons to take the plunge at the Polar Plunge. She set up and helped run the new volleyball program. She has been the student coach for basketball for the past two years...Alisiana's commitment and dedication separate her from other student coaches.