Students awarded recognition for inclusion efforts

Seneca Valley School District  |  Posted on

Nick Logero (on left) and Taylor Wagstaff accepting their award.

“We couldn’t be more thankful.” That was what Seneca Valley (SV) 2021 Graduate Taylor Wagstaff stated when she and fellow SV student Nick Logero accepted the 2021 Unified Champion Schools (UCS) Leadership Award last month.
Last spring, Seneca Valley Senior High School Learning Support Teacher Katie Smolter nominated Wagstaff and Logero for the Leadership Award for Special Olympics based on their positive efforts and attitudes during the 2020-21 school year.

Ms. Smolter added, “Taylor organized and facilitated our first Polar Plunge raising over $4,000 and Nick is a perfect example of the importance of inclusion.”

UCS is an inclusive program offered in over 200 schools across the state. It provides opportunities for individuals with and without intellectual disabilities to train and compete together on Unified Sports teams and serve as agents for change with their school through co-leadership in Youth Leadership Clubs.

“Each year, as part of Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s annual Leadership awards, we solicit nominations for the UCS Unified Leadership Award,” stated Special Olympics Pennsylvania Sports Vice President Michelle Boone. “Teachers can nominate one Unified Pair from their school, one student with intellectual disabilities and one general education student, who best exemplify the values of leadership and inclusion both on their Unified Sports team and within their school community. Nick and Taylor are well deserving recipients of this award and we thank them for their inclusive leadership within the Seneca Valley High School community.”

The in-person event to honor awardees was canceled, however, they hosted a virtual event on October 7. You can watch Wagstaff and Logero accepting their awards at the 30-minute mark in this Facebook video.

“This is an incredible honor for both them and our school,” exclaimed Ms. Smolter. “I am thrilled for both Nick and Taylor for their dedication to both Unified Sports and Inclusion. They represent what it means to be inclusive in both school and their community. I am beyond proud of their efforts in this initiative and they are so deserving on this recognition!”

Seneca Valley Student Services Director Jeff Roberts emphasized, “We couldn’t be more thankful for students like Nick and Taylor who went above and beyond to include all students. We are thrilled that they won the Leadership Award and that they were honored at the statewide level.”