Hamilton Middle School teacher Liz VandeWege has a passion for her Unified physical education class. Every year, VandeWege takes special education students and pairs them with peers selected by HMS teachers for their leadership qualities. Together, the students make magic and memories happen.

Over the past two weeks, VandeWege's classes have taken place at the Hamilton Community Pool.

"We are working on some kicking, blowing bubbles, getting our face wet, and swimming skills, all skills they need in life," VandeWege said. "With Lake Michigan right there, it's a very important skill that they need to have."

The peers enjoy teaming up with their students. Eighth grader Kendall says seeing the progression of the students is her favorite part.

"It's a lot of fun helping out in this class, especially seeing how far they've grown," Kendall smiled.

The four-week unit has been filled with big leaps by all involved, VandeWege said.

"The progress we've seen has been amazing. From the connections built, swimming skills, and just how supportive the gen-ed students are with the students to motivate them to push themselves, it has been fantastic."