When Britain's Paralympians got home, the party got started.

The British Paralympic athletes just got back from Rio, and they were welcomed home with much fanfare.

From Sept. 7 to 18, athletes with disabilities from around the world competed in the Paralympic Games in Rio. If you didn't see or hear much about it, that's probably because TV coverage for the Paralympic Games — while increasing — is still small compared to the pomp and circumstance of the Olympics.

Anne Dickens waves to fans at Heathrow Airport. Dickens won gold as a paracanoeist. Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images.


Upon returning to Heathrow Airport in London, Britain's Paralympic champions were greeted by a huge cheering crowd of family, friends, and fans. The celebration was well earned too, as the team brought home more medals than any British team since 1988: 147 total, 64 of them gold.

Among the returning athletes was cyclist Sarah Storey, who couldn't believe how big the welcoming party was.

Storey is the most decorated British Paralympian in history and won her 14th gold medal at the 2016 games.

Gold medalist Sarah Storey. Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images.

"It's been amazing. It's just sensational," Storey said. "I can't believe how much support there is. This is the first time I've ever had this coming home, on this scale. I've never been home on a gold-nosed plane before."

That's right, the British Paralympic athletes were flown home on a gold-nosed plane filled with champagne.

Photo via British Airways/Twitter.

The queen also offered praise to the Paralympic champions, calling their performance at the games "magnificent."

"I offer my warmest congratulations to the athletes of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and indeed to the athletes of all Commonwealth countries, for their many successes in Rio de Janeiro," the queen said.

"I send my good wishes to all those who have contributed to the success of these memorable Games."

Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images.

The athletes were pretty thrilled to be home after their past few weeks in Rio.

Champions like Abbie Hunnisett, who competed in women's club throw, were greeted by an adoring crowd for photos and autographs.

Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images.

They'll spend the next few days with family, resting and basking in the glory of being national heroes. They'll also be marching in a parade in October and partying in London at a "grand celebration."

Paralympians are not only world-class athletes, they're incredible inspirations.

Kadeena Cox, who won two gold medals in running and cycling, arrives home from Rio. Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images.

Their stories and accomplishments are a reminder that — through hard work and dedication — all bodies are capable of great things.

There's been a strong effort this year to increase visibility of the Paralympic Games — from the #FillTheSeats campaign to Vogue Brazil's well-intentioned but completely misguided Photoshop stunt.

Just like their peers at the Olympics, athletes at the Paralympics deserve to be welcomed home with accolades and celebration. We dedicate weeks and hours and months of coverage to the Olympics, and the Paralympics should be the same. Siloing Paralympic athletes off to the side in a separate, less covered set of games only serves to reinforce the narrative that people with disabilities aren't as good or as worthy of being recognized as other people are.

Britain pulling out all the stops to welcome their Paralympic champions is a great way to make sure these athletes are getting the attention they deserve, and it's something more countries should do. With four years until the next Paralympic Games, that's more than enough time to make sure they have the welcome home of a lifetime.

Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

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Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

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Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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