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Power Take: Unified basketball program so far a smashing success

My sister has cerebral palsy. I’ve seen how much it means to her and her friends to be part of a group. Whether it’s their weekly trip to the community center or singing at their annual concert, the smiles show something special is happening. Thanks are due to six local high schools for making something extraordinary happen this spring.

The inaugural season of unified basketball, a coed sport mixing special- and general-education students, is underway at Akron, Eden, Frontier, Lockport, Newfane and Starpoint. The teams play twice a week with normal rules, aside from no shot clock. Players will receive a varsity letter.

Early results have been astounding. Families have seen skyrocketing confidence. Teachers, administrators and coaches have been touched by the high-fives, hugs and beaming smiles when shots go in. Players have taken pride in representing their school.

The program has slowly been growing across the state. Here’s hoping for rapid expansion. Every district can benefit from the camaraderie, interaction and passionate displays of school spirit.