On September 6, 2019, ESPN revealed the five Special Olympics Unified Champion schools that would be receiving national banner presentations as part of ESPN’s Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools National Recognition Program. For its work in empowering students to be agents of change in their school and community, Special Olympics and ESPN presented Fife High School in Tacoma with a Unified Champion Schools national banner. Fife High School was selected as one of just five schools in the nation to receive national banner status this year for meeting ten national standards of excellence. These standards revolve around inclusion, advocacy and respect and include implementing sustainable programs around Special Olympics Unified Sports, inclusive youth leadership and engagement throughout the whole school.
On October 2, 2019, Fife High School held an all-school assembly to raise the national banner and to celebrate this achievement. Special guests participating in the assembly included Coach P.J. Carlesimo, Congressman Denny Heck, a surprise appearance by Governor Jay Inslee, and Storm mascot Doppler. All students received free t-shirts, reading “Fife Unified” on the front.
During the assembly, the Seattle Storm and Bank of America joined forces to support a Unified basketball game where athletes with and without disabilities played together. The crowd was electric and cheered for every player on the court, no matter if the basket went in or not. Doppler participated in a mascot dance off on court and then with help from Bank of America and Storm staff, tossed out t-shirts and other items into the student sections. To conclude the assembly, Fife High School Special Olympics athletes carried out their “National Unified Champion School” to watch it be raised to the ceiling.
Before the assembly, the Storm and Bank of America joined in on all-day festivities with tables in the courtyard. Students had the opportunity to take their picture with the 2018 Championship trophy, take home a free Storm t-shirt or headband and win lots of goodies from Bank of America.