CEC and Education students help out at Special Olympics


Bella Lee, Staff writer

One of Mercyhurst’s core values is being Ambassadors of Service and we pride ourselves on reaching out to the community to assist in any way we can. On Thursday, Feb. 9, members of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and Early Childhood/Special Education majors put these values into action by helping athletes in the Special Olympics. “Special Olympics is an organization for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities to participate in sports and activities all around the world,” said Ava Gebhardt, senior Early Childhood/ Special Education major and President of CEC. “This Special Olympics was a winter sports meet that had athletes competing in cross country skiing, snowshoeing, alpine skiing, snowboarding, and downhill skiing,” she said. Taking place at Peek’n Peak Resort, the Special Olympics was a great way for athletes to showcase their talents. “Volunteers held a number of roles at the event including keeping time, running the scores from each race inside so the prizes could be made up, etc,” said Brady Esham, sophomore Early Childhood/Special Education major and Vice President of CEC. “One of the main jobs Mercyhurst Education students was to buddy up with an athlete, these buddies stayed with their athlete all day and cheered them on at the Individual races as well as helped make sure they had everything which they needed,” Esham said. The Special Olympics are not all that known in public, so events like this help to raise awareness. “In terms of why It is important to know about Special Olympics, I would definitely say that for Education majors it is a great opportunity to support these athletes while also learning skills which benefit one’s success in the future classroom,” said Esham. Gebhardt agrees with this. “It is important to know about Special Olympics because it is a wonderful organization that is helping individuals feel included and gives them a chance to compete in activities they enjoy,” she said. “Special Olympics does events all throughout the year to further fund and support these individuals.” The Education Department does a lot to help future generations grow and succeed in their lives, so them being able to participate in something such as the Special Olympics is something that is extremely important and amazing of them to do.