Fishers promotes inclusion during Disability Awareness Month


Photo used with permission of Emerson Chapple.

Members of Unified Track gather in a team huddle on May 5, 2021 to celebrate becoming county champions at Carmel High School.

     The Fishers Advisory Committee on Disability will be hosting events throughout March, with this year’s theme being “Achieving More Together.” The Hamilton County Transition Fair will take place tonight at HSE from 6-7:30 p.m., with the goal of helping connect families with resources for life’s transitions. According to Chrissy Pogue, Transition Specialist for HSE Schools, there will be over 60 vendors, including therapists, adult service providers, financial planners, employment specialists, Vocational Rehabilitation and more. 

     ​“The Transition Fair is a great way for families to see what services are available to help them, no matter the age of the individual with a disability,” Pogue said. “They will be able to collect flyers about the agencies or, if they prefer, can talk with someone from the agency while there. It is a great way to start conversations about what the family needs and how a vendor can help.”

     Other upcoming events include informational workshops at the Hamilton East Public Library, Prism Project of Fishers: Spring Performance and a performance by the White River Chamber Orchestra to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday. 

     As for FHS, there are clubs that work on promoting inclusivity within the school. For example, the Champions Together club has a “Spread the word to end the word” campaign going on during March. The goal of this campaign is to encourage students to let others know when they have said something that may be mean to others. According to club member and senior Emerson Chapple, Champions Together pairs with other clubs and sports teams to create events where both general education and special education students can come together. 

     “I really like that everyone there is super kind and welcoming,” Chapple said. “We’re all there to just have a good time and make new friendships and it’s probably the least judgmental club you could find at Fishers. It’s the same with all the unified sports, like for Unified Track it does not matter how well you run, it’s all just about being there and having fun.”

The “Spread the word to end the word” campaign poster made by the Champions Together club hangs outside of Cafe B.

     Many students who are in Champions Together are in similar clubs like Unified Track, as both extracurriculars go hand in hand with promoting inclusivity and providing a welcoming environment for all. Senior Maddie Taylor has made friends at both clubs. 

     “It really allows you to focus more on relationships rather than the club itself,” Taylor said. “It just gets you to meet a lot of new people and get to make so many new friendships. I’d say it’s just a really good way to get to know the people at your school.” 

     According to senior and club member Ellie Metzger, the Champions Together sponsor, Patrick Schooley, does a great job of fostering a nice atmosphere for the club and encourages it to be run by the student members. Metzger believes the club helps promote empathy and overall teamwork. Currently, Unified Track has begun practicing in preparation for their upcoming season.

     “I think for most clubs that we have at Fishers, it would be hard for someone with special needs just to join them,” Chapple said. “I feel like having clubs that are designated for being open and accepting just makes everyone feel welcome. Anyone from Fishers could join and find friends, so it’s super low pressure.”