North PHX School to Host Unified Olympic Event

North Valley Christian Academy (NVCA), a faith-based school serving more than 500 K-12 students, is hosting its first Unified Sports basketball game on Wednesday, March 23, beginning at 2:30 p.m.

The one-day event is designed to celebrate differences by bringing together teams of students with and without disabilities for a fun, rewarding and competitive experience. Inspired by a previous NVCA event hosted with Special Olympics Unified Sports®, this unique game is hosted solely by NVCA. However, the event will retain the same spirit of inclusion as the larger Special Olympics Unified Sports competitions, which serve more than 1.4 million people worldwide.

“As someone who has worked with Special Olympics for several years, I have seen the impact sport can have on young people and it is truly life changing, especially for those who may have previously thought they could ever compete at this level,” said NVCA athletic director Scott Brown. is that there will be hundreds of their comrades and families in the stands to cheer them on.”

Brown, the former director of AIA (Arizona Interscholastic Association) Unified Sports, seamlessly added Unified Sports and Special Olympics programs to the school’s already successful sports programs and offerings. His dedication to promoting social inclusion through the sharing of sports training and competition experiences is one of the main reasons that the NVCA sports program has not only grown rapidly, but has remained successful. . In fact, the NVCA Men’s High School Basketball Team won the 2021 AIA 1A State Championship Tournament, just three years into the program’s history and under the leadership of the ‘ head coach Randy Walker, marking the second time the team has advanced to the state championship game under Walker.

“The arrival of Unified Sports in our athletic department and around the world has been a gift to millions of young people and has helped break down stereotypes and misconceptions about people with disabilities,” Walker said. “Team sports are an integral part of our society. They bring people together and there’s no reason anyone should be left out; That’s what it’s about.

NVCA’s strong support of Unified Sports and Special Olympics also stems from the school’s commitment to providing a safe, strength-based, research-based, positive response strategic plan, in addition to an experienced faith-based education for every child. A great example of this commitment includes the school’s BEST program, which is a student success program to support, nurture, challenge, celebrate and encourage eligible students with disabilities and gifted and talented traits.

“Our parents and students love the BEST program because it helps us identify where children are at in their development and move them forward to reach their highest and best potential,” said BEST program director, Lori Fox. “The BEST program is designed to help our students gain confidence, overcome obstacles, and achieve even higher goals because they know they have a committed team behind them.”

Emily Ciliberti, a BEST Coach for the program, has been dedicated this year to making the Unified Olympics a positive and uplifting experience for the entire campus.

For those unable to attend the NVCA Unified Sports Basketball Game, the event will be streamed live on Facebook at To learn more about North Valley Christian Academy and its sports, please visit

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