special olympics owasso

Matthew Yidi of Owasso participates in the 50 meter dash during the 2019 Oklahoma Special Olympics on May 16, in Stillwater at Pioneer Stadium. DEVIN LAWRENCE WILBER/

Tulsa World

Owasso High School recently made national headlines.

The school was named to ESPN’s Honor Roll for 2019, a list of top 34 schools from across the country as part of the Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools National Recognition Program.

A Unified Champion School incorporates Special Olympics sports, leadership and related activities, and demonstrates a commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 national standards of excellence.

ESPN, the presenting sponsor of Unified sports around the globe, revealed the winners on Tuesday, Sept. 3, and honored them during a segment on the network.

“Today, we’re here to congratulate the ESPN Honor Roll schools, who are taking their commitment to inclusion to the next level and being an example and model for schools everywhere,” SportsCenter’s Kenny Mayne said in the broadcast.

Over 100 athletes and an additional 100 Unified partners districtwide are involved with Owasso Special Olympics, which hosts a wide range of programs at OHS, including an inclusive club and leadership class, for participating students.

This is the first year the campus has been named as a Unified Champion School receiving a national banner recognition, an honor that Owasso Special Olympics head coach Susan St. John said serves as a proud achievement for the district.

“It’s nice to be recognized for doing something well that we’re all so passionate about,” St. John told Owasso Reporter. “We do this because we love it, and for another organization such as ESPN to say, ‘Hey you’re doing good at this,’ it’s nice.”

Special Olympics Oklahoma and Green Country Area also recognized Owasso’s own Johnny, Amy and Lane Petersen as this year’s family that exemplifies outstanding dedication and commitment to Special Olympics.

Johnny serves as Owasso’s fire marshal and has continued to support Owasso Special Olympics alongside his wife and son.

St. John said now that OHS is a Unified Champion School, she plans to host an official banner presentation at its annual Students vs. Faculty basketball competition in the spring.

Owasso Special Olympics also just returned from Special Olympics Oklahoma’s 36th annual Summer Games in May, where the team participated and placed in several activities.