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NFA Unified Basketball Team Recognized at Board of Education Meeting

The Newburgh Free Academy Basketball team was recognized at a Board of Education meeting recently. In Unified Sports, teams are made up of people of similar age and ability. That makes practices more fun and games more challenging and exciting for all. Having sport in common is just one more way that preconceptions and false ideas are swept away.

Unified Champion Schools promote social inclusion by bringing together young people with and without intellectual disabilities on sports teams (Special Olympics Unified Sports) through inclusive student clubs, together in school or community-wide initiatives, and by fostering youth leadership.

This is third year of Unified basketball in Section 9.  NFA has been a Unified Champion School since former athletic director, Mr. Semo brought the program to Newburgh.

Team sports bring people together. Special Olympics Unified Sports® teams do that, too and much more. About 1.4 million people worldwide take part in Unified Sports, breaking down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities in a really fun way. ESPN has served as the Global Presenting Sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports since 2013, supporting the growth and expansion of this program that empowers individuals with and without intellectual disabilities to engage through the power of sports.

Special Olympics is dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences. Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.


The NFA Unified team is 5-0 for the season and is undefeated in their three years of participation.


Players include:

Yesenia Guiterrez-Martinez

Dakarai Gayle

Nyla Stone

Tyrese Boykin

Alexander Carino

Gisselle Cheatham

Amir Balaguer

Markell Williams

Alana Harris

Michael Castro

Andry Ramirez

Stephanie Ryder

J'son Meredith




Gabriela Perez

Casey Caldwell

Carol Zapotila


Youth Activation Committee:

Gianna Oppenheimer

Shania Rodriguez


Student coaches:

Elijah Williams

Diamond Bullard

Ameesah Cotton

Caleb Simmons

Amarri Tice


The NFA Unifed Team is advised by: Ms. Sandy Baines and Ms. Michele Bender.


More photos from the game against Arlington can be found here. 


ATTENTION: Are your scholars or colleagues doing something great? Please contact the district Communications Team at communications@necsd.net. We’d love to visit your class or event and/or post your pictures and recap to highlight the amazing accomplishments throughout our district!

Mr. Howie Harrison discusses highlights of the team.
Ms. Michele Bender  discusses highlights of the team.
Dr. Padilla congratulations an athlete.
Dr. Padilla congratulations an athlete.

Ms. Mineo congratulations an athlete.
Team stands with Dr. Padilla, Ms. Mineo and banner.
Team goes in for a huddle and cheer.
Team goes in for a huddle and cheer.

Team goes in for a huddle and cheer.
Date: 2019-06-18 08:30:13 AM


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