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Service High Partners Club excited to cheer on Anchorage skier Gus Schumacher at the Olympics

Published: Feb. 5, 2022 at 1:05 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The buzz around the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is high for the Service High School Partners club as they look forward to cheering on U.S. cross-country skier Gus Schumacher.

The Special Olympics partners club pairs students, with and without intellectual disabilities, through unified sports. Before Schumacher was chasing Olympic gold, he was a member of the Service partners club.

“I know that Gus has communicated that when he looks back at his time at Service High School, that partners club was one of the highlights that he enjoyed and looks back on fondly,” Schumacher’s former teacher and partners club sponsor Adam Ahonen said.

Pictures of Schumacher hang on the wall in Ahonen’s classroom, along with laminated articles from the newspaper when he won gold at the FIS Junior Cross-Country World Championships in 2020.

Even after the Olympian graduated, he stayed connected with the club, helping teach gym over zoom with the club during the pandemic. But Schumacher is not the only high achiever out of the group of partners club volunteers who graduated from Service. Newly minted Miss America 2022, Emma Broyles was also a member of Service High School’s partner club and her social impact initiative was building community through Special Olympics.

In 2018, the club was nationally recognized by ESPN as one of the top 30 schools across the country for its Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools National Recognition Program.

The inclusion movement continues to thrive at the school as they continue to celebrate the successes of students in the program like Jordan Sticka, who recently found out that she has qualified for the Special Olympics USA Games as a gymnast.

“I was just so shocked in myself that I got qualified for a bigger opportunity to compete in the USA games,” Sticka said.

She will go to Orlando, Florida over the summer to compete in the games. Service High Partner Meredith Schwartz will make the trip as well as a member of the Track and Field team.

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