Unified Pair of the Month For March: Kendel and Connor

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 Kendel Gill and Connor Lee who are both 8th graders from Billy Mills Middle School in Lawrence Kansas.

Kendel is a Unified Partner, who loves to dive, play volleyball, and read. For her, the meaning of inclusion is “ making everyone feel welcome, no matter what background they come from.” Kendel explained how her and Connor were friends before they were a Unified Pair, but that it helped their friendship grow and provided opportunities to connect with different Unified Pairs at different schools and events.

Connor is a Unified Athlete, who loves basketball and cooking. For him, inclusion means “bringing everyone together to build meaningful conversations. With inclusion, you build more confidence in socializing.” Connor explained how “Unified was the first time I have ever been on a sports team, which made me feel included. I also met new people, and made more friends. At competitions, I loved how Unified Pairs from other schools would go up and introduce themselves to me!” Connor and Kendel have only played Bocce so far together, but Connor is looking forward to the Unified Basketball Tournament in the Fall!

Kendel and Connor are pillars of inclusion at Billy Mills and the Lawrence community. Their Unified Advisor, Sunny Pippert, who teaches at the school said this about them, “”Kendel and Conner work well together. During class, Kendel takes the time to aid Conner with his work. Kendel was always calm and collected, and had an inviting presence, while Conner always came into school with a smile and a positive attitude. They already knew each other prior to being a Unified Pair and even since the start of the school year, Conner has grown more confident in being around his fellow classmates and has made many friends along the way. I can’t wait to see what is to come from Kendel and Conner in the future!” 

The Pair’s favorite memory together is playing in the Bocce Tournament, as well as participating in the Polar Plunge this year!

Congratulations to Kendel and Connor for being selected as the Unified Pair of the Month for March!

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