By Patrick Panarese ‘24

The Crusader community is starting a new program called Crusaders for Inclusion. This program helps all students to be included no matter what differences or disabilities they may have. With this program, members will be able to get help in the classroom, and participate in extracurricular activities inside and outside of school.

This organization will help out the incoming students in Mount Sion to be fully involved as a Brother Rice Crusader. The Mount Sion program helps out a small group of students who have special needs to still be able to learn in a safe environment and develop the same bonds and connections that the students at Brother Rice experience.

Mr. Prunckle, the coordinator of the Mount Sion program and the moderator of the Crusaders for Inclusion program, is excited and extremely honored to be able to work with current students to prepare the success of these new Mount Sion students.

Mr. Prunckle said, “When we announced the Mount Sion program, we wanted to express interest in joining the program. Some of these students before joining the program have had some experience working with such kids. With this organization, these students will act as an academic support and teacher’s aide to these Mount Sion students and provide them with all the tools they need to be an involved Crusader.”

Also, some of the Brother Rice Crusaders have been dipping their toes into this program to try and help the cause. Juniors Andrew Quinn and Jay Jilek decided to get more involved with the program by taking on some leadership roles for the organization.

Jay Jilek has lots of impactful ideas for the month of March for what the organization can do.

Jay Jilek said, “March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day and Brother Rice will be having events to celebrate this day. Down Syndrome is one of the most common genetic variations that occurs in approximately one in 700 births. Sophomores Colin Nye, Nolan Leonard, Emanuel Delgado, Oliver McNichols, Roman Manjarrez, and I will be spreading awareness and running events for World Down Syndrome Day at Brother Rice. This year, we will be participating in the Rock your Socks campaign where we will ask Brother Rice students to wear mismatched and crazy socks. The purpose of this is to get noticed by others and asked about your socks so you can start a conversation about Down Syndrome Awareness. We will also be collecting donations for the PALS program at the Brother Rice volleyball game on March 19th. ”

For the month of April, Andrew Quinn and his team of crusaders came up with ideas to spread awareness for Autism Awareness Month.

Andrew Quinn said, “In April, we celebrate National Autism Awareness Month. I have been lucky enough to be made team lead for this program, and together, my group plans to share facts/stats on autism over the announcements, create autism awareness social media posts and flyers, and look into the possibility of our school’s participation in a kindness campaign. I firmly believe that through Crusaders for Inclusion, we will be able to make a long-term, positive impact at Brother Rice and beyond.”

The future is looking bright for these Crusaders and this inclusion team. It is safe to say that this program will leave a positive impact for years to come.