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Unified sports, museum recognized

by Rob Burgess - rburgess@wabashplaindealer.com

The emergence of a unified sports program at Wabash High School and the recent successes of the Wabash Historical Museum were on display Monday evening at the Wabash City Council meeting.

Kyle Weiland, Wabash High School principal, praised the founding of the school’s unified sports program, which allows students with cognitive disabilities to compete alongside with students without them.

“It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “Some of our students as teenagers still hadn’t really had the opportunity to see what competitive athletics was like, what it was like to be able to be a part of a team and all of the things that come along with that.”

Weiland said he had participated in sports from an early age and quickly learned their value. However, when it came time to start the WHS program, he said he had never participated in anything of the sort before.

Weiland said he reached out to the community for help, and Doug Adams, District 5 council member, was one among those who responded.

“He ended up being a very important part of adding unified athletics to our school,” said Weiland, who then presented Adams with the the Face of Sportsmanship Award.

Adams has also been active with the Special Olympics. The previous weekend he helped lead 35 athletes from Wabash to the annual state games held at Indiana State University.

“With our athletes one of the greatest things you can receive is an athlete running from two aisles away at Walmart to give you a hug,” said Adams.

In other news, Jenna Terry, who will soon begin her junior year at Indiana Wesleyan University studying business administration, marketing and strategic communications, addressed council.

Terry is also the newest hire at the Wabash County Historical Museum, where she is in charge of marketing and fundraising.

Terry brought the council up to speed on the recent successes of the museum, which moved into a new building in 2005.

In 2013, Mitch Figert, who also serves at District 1 council member, began his new post as executive director. Terry said one of the first changes he made was to start a concerted effort to engage families.

As a result, the museum has seen a marked increase in attendance; from between 3,000 to 5,000 a decade ago to 18,067 guests this year.

Terry said in addition to renting out the space for events, the museum was popular with children for its play area on the second floor. She said they hoped to expand on this in the near future in an effort to further increase attendance.

Terry said field trips are also a major source of new visitors for the museum, with regular visits from schools from seven different counties throughout the year.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, June 24.