Yesterday, Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary became the first Richmond Public Schools to be recognized as a National Banner School. They earned the honor by demonstrating a commitment to inclusion and meeting 10 standards of excellence determined by Special Olympics North America.
In attendance to present the banner was Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. Cardona, made a stop at Oak Grove-Bellemeade as part of his “Road to Success Back to School Bus Tour.”
Cardona shared why he believed Oak Grove-Bellemeade received the honor, “This school got it because throughout their practices in every classroom, in the culture of the school, every student is valued, and they’re seen as assets."
After being greeted by students, Cardona was led into the school for a Unified Young Athletes demonstration. The Secretary posed and even participated in the activities with the young pre-schoolers.
Following the demonstration, students pilled into the Oak Grove-Bellemeade Community Center for the celebration and special announcement.
During the ceremony, Special Olympics Virginia President David Thomason shared his belief in the sudents as leaders of the Unified Generation, “There are lots of teachers in school, but you are all teachers for us. You are showing us how to live our life. You’re showing us that inclusion isn’t just an event, it’s a way we can live our life.”
After the banner was revealed, students closed out the ceremony with some unified corn hole competitions.