Unified: It’s Who We Are

By Jori O’Grady

Twelve years ago, ILC students performed their first music therapy concert in the small compact atrium. They performed to an audience no bigger than 50 people. Now ILC students take the stage, and perform to a cheering full house of students and staff.

Held twice a year, the school and community are invited to watch the ILC preform. Each year the audience is left in awe from experiencing the ILC develop their music therapy skills in a full scale and interactive performance.

“We love music therapy because it brings so many good things to our students. It increases self-esteem, it gives them a chance to perform, it improves their listening skills,” said ILC teacher Linda Snelgrove.

Music Therapy uses music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. It is used to strengthen communication and physical coordination skills.

“They’re so talented and [the concert] is where they are able to share their talent with other students,” said Snelgrove. “One girl we will always remember in music therapy was a soloist in Frozen and she brought down the house.”

With standing ovations for the music therapy concert, Unified sports, Grandbrew, Unified club, and so much more, inclusion at Grandview is no longer just something we do, it's who we are.

In fact, Grandview was 1 of 5 schools to be recognized as a National Unified Champion School.

Before the ILC winter concert on December 14th, president and CEO of Special Olympics Colorado, Mindy Watrous, presented the National Unified Champion school banner to Grandview.

“Your school has gone far above and beyond to ensure that all students and all differences are accepted and valued as members of the school body,” said Watrous

In order to be recognized by Special Olympics, a school has to offer at least two seasons of fully-inclusive sports, offer a Unified Club lead by students with and without disabilities, have all school engagement, and maintain sustainability.

All of which Grandview excelled in.

“Grandview believes in being an inclusive school and having opportunities for everyone,” said Snelgrove. “And to be one of the top 30 schools in the nation for inclusion, that says something about Grandview and the population here.”

What sets Grandview apart is that the ILC program not only benefits these students but impacts the community as a whole.

“When students first volunteer in the program they come in saying that I'm going to change these students lives, but by the end, they say that my life was the one that changed,” said Snelgrove.

“It’s changed our lives.”

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