COLUMBUS, Kan. — Columbus plays host to a summit for some very special athletes.

Special Olympics Kansas held the Unified Champion School Youth Summit today.

The summit is an opportunity for high school students to receive leadership training and learn the importance of being inclusive.

Eighty high school students from twelve different schools throughout Southeast Kansas signed up to partner with an individual with a disability.

Erie High School Senior Madalyn Smith coordinated four presentations on leadership and being welcoming to others.

Groups then participated in different activities, like basketball, volleyball, and pickleball.

“Being able to kind of create this collaborative environment to bring them in and focus on inclusion in the classroom setting because that’s where they spend most of their days is extremely important. And to just see kind of how important it is to be inclusive in any environment,” said Olivia Ryan, SEK Special Olympics Region Director.

“I just get so excited when I get to be with my partners, and I get to help them I get to build a better connection with them. We laugh, we play just all that,” said Madalyn Smith, Erie High School Senior.

Every activity was led and created by one of the high school students.