CORNING, N.Y. (WENY) -- Corning-Painted Post High School earned national recognition with National Banner status for creating an inclusive school community. Department heads and athletes celebrated this honor with a basketball game. 

The distinction, made by Special Olympics North America, is the highest level of achievement for this program.  

James Dukes, a junior at Corning-Painted Post High School, plays on the basketball team for the Youth Activation Committee. This is Dukes' second year playing for the team. 

“Let me just say, this is awesome, and tonight is the biggest game of the last year,” he said. 

Dukes said he is proud of his school for earning National Banner status. He added, he feels very supported and included by his fellow students. 

“We are very supportive of one another because this is the Corning-Painted Post High School...and we all support each other in more ways than one,” he said. 

Jigar Maisuria, a junior at Corning-Painted Post High School, is the assistant coach of the team and Co-President of the Youth Activation Committee. Maisuria has been a huge supporter of unified sports during his time in high school. The organization took off seven years ago and Maisuria is proud of his school for receiving such high honors.  

“I feel so excited because we have been working at this for so long,” he said. “Our school has been doing this for so long.” 

Maisuria said he loves to see the community come together and create a fun atmosphere for the unified sports movement. He added, the student base is what makes games so special. 

“Our school is the best school in the world...we have amazing fans,” he said. “The whole track team comes, all the sports teams come if they're free. They just come and they wear these blue shirts that we have just to support all of us.”