Pattonville High School named Special Olympics Missouri School of Character

Three students post while attending student council conferenceAt the Missouri Association of Student Councils (MASC) convention in March, Pattonville High School received the 2024 School of Character Award by Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO). Pattonville received the Bronze Award for the student council’s dedication to serving others in the community and at school and for its inclusivity of students of all abilities. 

Sophomore Lorelai Otto accepted the award on behalf of Pattonville at the state MASC convention, which took place March 14 through 16 in Carthage. Also in attendance were sophomores Alexandra Wyatt and Annabelle Wyatt. Special School District (SSD) teacher Carrie Cobb, serves as the school's Special Olympics coach. Math teacher Tara Borcherding, academic monitor Lisa Foust and family and consumer sciences (FACS) teacher Samantha Markowski serve as student council sponsors.

To receive a School of Character award, schools go through an application process, providing information on the various activities they have done in the areas of Unified Sports, whole school engagement and inclusive youth leadership and earn points to achieve either gold, silver or bronze recognition. Schools can earn points based on a variety of different things, including:

  • Hosting and/or volunteering at a local Special Olympics Missouri event;
  • Organizing a Young Athletes program for athletes ages 3-7;
  • Starting a Unified Sports team at school;
  • Having a student council member become a SOMO coach; and
  • Raising funds through the Polar Plunge or any other fundraising initiative.

Student receives award

Students in the Essential Skills and CBVI (Community Based Vocational Instruction) programs at the high school participate in three Special Olympics events: basketball, bowling and Track and Field. Special Olympics events provide sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for students being served by Special School District (SSD), in order to give them opportunities in the community that develop physical fitness, courage and friendships with other athletes and non-disabled peers. Pattonville's student council also hosts a swimming event at the high school engaging the community to help spread awareness of inclusion.

For more than 30 years, MASC’s partnership with SOMO has presented member schools with an opportunity for service and a connection to an organization that holds events across the state. MASC schools across the state provide an average of 12,000 volunteer hours each year and host many Special Olympics events and services. The SOMO School of Character program was established in 2014 for schools that are members of MASC to be recognized for their level of involvement in the Special Olympics movement through Unified Sports, whole school engagement and inclusive youth leadership.


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