Love for Unified

Photo+by%3A+Bella+Carpinelli

Photo by: Bella Carpinelli

Bella Carpinelli

//BELLA CARPINELLI//

“It’s bittersweet,” senior Ethan Covington said. Covington described the emotion heavily felt by Vista’s Unified community during Senior Night, the last basketball game of the year. The Unified game on Feb. 26 celebrated the seniors involved in the program with a rose and a short speech about each student. 

Covington, who is one of the Unified coaches and serves as a referee at the games, grew up in the Unified community because his older brother was in the special needs program at Vista.

 “My brother has cerebral palsy,” Covington said. “He really got me into it…and I just enjoy being a part of [the community] and want to keep being a part of it.” 

Covington said that it was an emotional night for him, as it was his last game with Unified. However, he acknowledged that he was ready to move forward after helping with Unified for years. 

“It’s my time to move on,” Covington said. “But I’m definitely going to miss hanging out with all these people.” 

Freshman Allison Pruitt said she likes going to the Unified games and cheering the players on from the sidelines or on the court. Pruitt has immersed herself in the Unified program and said she is planning on becoming a peer intern for the rest of high school. 

 “I’ve done Unified and helped out for a really long time,” Covington said. “It just puts a smile on my face when I see them happy.”

Many people involved in Unified, including Covington and Pruitt, can agree that activities like basketball games are vital for anyone –including students with special needs.

“I think it makes [Unified students] feel more involved with the school, because I feel like they can be pushed to the side really easily,” Pruitt said. “By involving them in sports like every other kid, it just makes them feel like everyone else.”