École Secondaire Notre Dame High School (NDHS) students came together through sport during the first-annual ND Unified Cougar Classic on April 12.  

The event worked to foster inclusivity, understanding, and friendship within the school community, by bringing students with and without intellectual disabilities together to train and compete side by side.  

“The ND Unified Cougar Classic was less about competition and more about connections. Witnessing athletes and partners playing together, laughing, and supporting one another truly underscored that sports go beyond winning—they are about crafting a community where everyone feels they belong,” said Alison Snow, NDHS Unified Head Coach.  

Along with Unified Sports teams from Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School and Eckville Jr/Sr High School, the Notre Dame Cougars welcomed 90 participants for a day of recreational competition in bean bag toss and 3-on-3 basketball.  

"I thought the 1st Annual Unified Cougar Classic was awesome. I was nervous at first, but once I met new people, I felt comfortable and safe on the court with everyone,” said Hailey Morin, an NDHS Unified athlete.  

After the success of the first event, the ND Unified Cougar Classic has become a foundational event for the school.  

"The momentum of learning and understanding generated by this year's classic promises to have a lasting influence on our school community. We are eagerly anticipating our second annual event,” Snow said.