HANCOCK, Mich. (WLUC) - During regular school hours Thursday, special needs students from across the Copper Country ISD came to Hancock High School for the district's first Special Olympics basketball game.
"The big thing is inclusion, and one of the big things we do for that inclusion is a sporting event. So this is our first ever basketball game, and it's made up of half students with special needs and half that are not," said Maren Rouleau, a High School Special Education Teacher with the Copper Country ISD.
For the school and the ISD, the partnership is a big step forward in making sure students with special needs are included.
"This means a lot, Hancock is the only school in our area that houses the students with special needs who have cognitive impairments, so to be included in a sporting event like this is huge," added Rouleau.
The game was also a community affair with student athletes from Finlandia and Michigan Tech University showing up to support the students on the court.
"It's a nice thing that our school is having, having the Michigan Tech football and volleyball team's out, as well Finlandia teams and our local authorities, like the police and fire departments," said Kenny Ericson, a Unified Championship Athlete.
The event will hopefully be the first of many for the school, and was a great experience for all of the students involved.
"Personally it just makes me feel good getting to help people that aren't always included with everything. Seeing the smiles on their faces and how much they enjoy it just makes me enjoy it that much more," said Sophie Heinonen, a Unified Championship Partner.