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BMS students show 'what the unified movement is all about'

Published Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Berkeley Middle students at the rally

Berkeley Middle School students pause for a photo after speaking at the rally on the steps of the Statehouse. (BCSD photo)

Students from Berkeley Middle School were among thousands in attendance at a Statehouse rally Tuesday. The goal – to end the “r word” and promote inclusion of students with disabilities in school and community activities.

Those in attendance witnessed several powerful moments. Those moments, organizers with the Special Olympics of South Carolina said, were what the public needed to see.

Students in Berkeley Middle School’s unified music program performed and spoke at the event as onlookers held phones in attempt to capture the emotion. Students shared their version of the song Clay by Grace VanderWaal in American Sign Language. It’s a performance that’s brought some to tears each time they’ve taken the stage.

The unified music class is made up of general education students and peers with disabilities. Barbara Oswald, vice president of programs for the Special Olympics of South Carolina said it’s hard to put into words what many people saw.

Passion. Acceptance. Planning. “Berkeley Middle-schoolers were shining yesterday,” Oswald said.

Their ability to perform together and speak about what they’ve learned in a unified program was priceless to advocates in attendance.

“Seeing them perform together – truly you understand what the unified movement is all about,” Oswald said.

Berkeley Middle students

Berkeley Middle School unified students hold a sign at the March 27 rally at the Statehouse. (BCSD photo)

Group photo of BMS students

Group photo of Berkeley Middle School's unified programs participants at the March 27 rally. (BCSD photo)

Brian Troutman