SHELTON — The high school, a Special Olympics Unified Champion School, is receiving a national banner recognizing its effort to provide inclusive sports and activities for students with and without disabilities.

Special Olympics CT announced this week that Shelton High is among a select number of schools to receive the distinction.

“I am so proud of the commitment of our students and coaches in achieving this honor,” Shelton High interim Principal Kathy Riddle said.

“They are providing valuable leadership while engaging our whole student population,” Riddle said. “Our unified program is serving as a positive example towards the inclusion of all people of all abilities and hopefully transforming our school and community in the process.”

SHS Athletic Director John Niski credited the coaches and students for their efforts in making the recognition possible.

“Our coaches and I work very hard to provide a quality program for our students because we love the feeling we get from the joy and camaraderie that our students have because of their participation in our programs,” said Niski, named the Michael’s Cup Athletic Director of the Year for his contribution to the success of Unified Sports.

“It is critical for our students with special needs to be able to feel a strong connection to our overall school community and student body,” Niski added. “Unified sports and Best Buddies are ways that we can help bring everyone together as one Gael family.”

Niski said the partners get just as much from the experience as the athletes, and “this is evidenced by the huge participation rate and incredible number of students who are participating each year.”

Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools is a strategy for schools pre-K through university level that promotes social inclusion by bringing together students with and without intellectual disabilities.

“I am grateful for the support of our coaches, school and district administration which allows our programs to continue to flourish and grow,” Niski added.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com