Inclusion Week at Neuqua Valley

A closeup of the “Rally for Respect” flag that student’s signed last year.

This week, students at Neuqua Valley High School are encouraged to participate in the annual Inclusion Week that will be hosted online due to COVID-19. by the Neuqua Best Buddies Club, this event will start on Mar. 1 and go until Mar. 5. Each day is designated to have students wear something different: Monday is Pajama Day, Tuesday is concert/band T-shirt day, Wednesday is Superhero day, Thursday is sports jersey day and Friday is hat day. They are trying to raise awareness about the importance of the mission of Best Buddies. According to their mission statement on, their mission is “to establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).” This is done through the “pledge,” which students would normally sign in the Commons during their lunch period. The pledge reads, ”I pledge to spread the word to end the word.” The message of Best Buddies this week is simple: “The use of the R-word is hurtful to members of Neuqua’s community, and instead should be replaced with respect for ourselves, for our peers and for our community.”

President of the Neuqua Best Buddies Club, Cassie Horn, elaborates on the importance of the week, saying, “I believe that inclusion week is important because we get to promote respect throughout the school in a fun way, and it encourages people to be aware of how they interact with others and how they can make their community a more inclusive place.”

She goes on to explain how “A lot of students have been engaging in the daily themes and sharing that online, which has really helped people get excited about the week and promote inclusion to their friends!” Using that excitement, Horn shares that “It’s really important to use inclusive language and avoid using words that put down other people. We can also make sure everyone has a voice and gets a chance to have the same opportunities as us!”

Being part of a community means different things to everybody. Neuqua contains students from all different backgrounds, and with this comes the different viewpoints, thoughts and values. However, Neuqua students wish to recognize that being a part of that community means that basic respect is essential in all aspects.

With this belief in mind, Horn advises, “By choosing respect every day… you can make every week inclusion week.”