The Unified Pair of the Month highlights students from our Special Olympics Kansas Unified Champion Schools who have been pillars of inclusion in their school community. This month, we have Alexia Abbe (Junior) and Kaden Turner (Senior) from Fredonia Junior Senior High School in southeast Kansas. Alexia and Kaden have been a Unified Pair for over 5 years, dating back to middle school.
Alexia is a Unified Partner, who loves to listen to music and hang out with her friends. For her, the meaning of inclusion means that “it is important to include others, as it gets people energized to build friendships and it creates a positive environment for people to thrive!” Since Fredonia became a Unified Champion School, Alexia states that it has helped the school out and it effectively spread the message to accept everyone. She plays Unified Bocce, Unified Cornhole, and Bowling. When asked about her greatest memory playing Unified Sports, Alexia said “It was during Terrific Day! It’s when the high school students go to the elementary schools in Pittsburg and hang out with the younger athletes. Kaden and I were both partnered with a younger athlete, who was thrilled to meet us!”
Kaden is an Unified Athlete, who loves singing and putting on a concert on the bandstand. He also likes to ride bikes and take walks around town. For Kaden, inclusion means having a circle of friends that involve him and being able to grow together. Since Unified came to Fredonia, he has made many friends in and outside of school, and many of those friends still contact him to this day. Kaden does many Unified Sports with Alexia, including bowling, track relay, cornhole, and bocce. Along with his involvement in Unified, Kaden also played football and basketball through his school’s athletics, as well as Special Olympics basketball with the Pittsburg Terriffic and Fredonia Stingers. His favorite memory playing Unified Sports was when he was on the relay team and his Uncle Tyler cheered him on the sidelines. That motivation gave him the strength to win gold.
Alexia and Kaden are pillars of inclusion at Fredonia and the southeast Kansas community. Their Unified Advisor, Vicki Starr, who teaches at the school said this about them, “Alexia’s heart is so kind and accepting of others. She advocates for inclusion. She includes all students as her friends. She has been going as a partner for over 5 years now! She is a Junior in high school. I believe she will continue to volunteer with Special Olympics, advocating for others and being a GREAT friend to Kaden and others after she graduates. She is my go-to person for help getting things together. She has been one of the leaders with Esports helping me set it up. Kaden can light up a room. He makes the clouds go away for all who meet him! He always tries his best and is kind to everyone.”
Congratulations to Alexia and Kaden for being selected as the Unified Pair of the Month for February!