Hendrickson High School receives national recognition from ESPN, Special Olympics for inclusivity

Pflugerville's Hendrickson High School was announced as one of the most inclusive schools in the nation by ESPN and the Special Olympics during a Sept. 6 special video presentation, according to a Sept. 6 Pflugerville ISD news release. Hendrickson received a national banner of honor and was one of only five schools across the United States awarded the distinction, per the release.

Hendrickson was included in the 2019 ESPN Honor Roll earlier this week, part of the network's Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools National Recognition Program.

“All schools who join the inclusion revolution are on the right track to making our world a more inclusive place, but these national banner presentations are given exclusively to the elite Unified Champion Schools who have met the 10 national standards of inclusions and have been nominated by their state’s Special Olympics program,” ESPN anchor Hannah Storm said in the release.

Amy Wiesenhutter, PfISD's Special Olympics coordinator and coach, said in the release this recognition is due largely in part to the students and staff who have helped created a "welcoming atmosphere" for all members of the district community.

“I can’t begin to express how proud I am of Hawk nation,” Wiesenhutter said, according to the release. “These students have totally created a climate of acceptance for all through many different activities. The environment of Hendrickson High School has been greatly impacted by the students generating a total unified movement and choosing to include. Congratulations to Hendrickson on this well-deserved national recognition.”

Unified Champion Schools extends its scope beyond Special Olympics events to cultivate greater inclusivity within the classrooms and through schoolwide activities to encourage greater collaboration between teachers, students and staff members.

Other recipients of the national banners of recognition from the Special Olympics and ESPN include Bullitt East High School in Mount Washington, Kentucky; Fife High School in Fife, Washington; Miami Southridge Senior High School in Miami; and Colorado State University.
By Kelsey Thompson
Kelsey Thompson is the reporter for Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto, where her work focuses on education, city government and community development. Originally from upstate New York, Kelsey relocated to Austin after graduating from Syracuse University in May 2019.


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