Mount Airy High School assistant principal Levi Goins, along with teachers Abby Gallimore and Bryan Hayes, launched Project Unify this past school year, involving 11 seniors and Gallimore’s Exceptional Students class.
Project Unify served as the senior projects for the 11 seniors, but more than that, “it created friendships that will last a lifetime,” project organizers said.
The goal behind Project Unify is simply communicated in its mission statement: “Bringing together different groups of people to help build relationships and help everyone become aware of others through acceptance and understanding.”
The seniors were responsible for planning lessons and activities for Gallimore’s class for 30 minutes every Friday during the 2017-2018 school year. Some of the lessons and activities included scavenger hunts, modified sports, cooking, painting, gardening, music, dance, and tie-dying T-shirts.
In addition to the lesson plans, the seniors coached the students in their events for the 2018 Surry County Special Olympics and accompanied them to the event.
“I am thrilled with the projects and the ideas the students have completed together,” Gallimore said. “Seeing them work with the students independently has been absolutely amazing. The joy on the kids’ faces is on both sides. It’s amazing the confidence and social growth I have seen with my students.
“I hope we can continue this for may years to come. Since this was the inaugural year, it has had some challenges that have definitely taught me what we will need to do to structure things differently for the future. The relationships and time spent I feel will last the students a lifetime!”
“Project Unify was a great experience, and I will greatly miss all of the friends I have made,” said senior Robert Brown.
“Project Unify has been a great character builder for me, and I’ve been able to make so many amazing friends,” added Tatyana Long.