Messiah named Pennsylvania’s 2008 Special Olympics School of the Year
Cindy Agoncilla '09
As Special Olympics athletes race for the finish line, Messiah students and faculty cheer them on. Every year on its annual Service Day, Messiah College cancels classes so that students, educators, and staff can volunteer throughout the community at events such as the Area M Special Olympics, held on Messiah’s campus since 1990.
Since 1990, Messiah has hosted the “Area M” Special Olympics and even organized a concurrent day without classes—Service Day—to encourage students, staff, and faculty to volunteer as “buddies” to athletes in the Special Olympics or to serve elsewhere in the community. This year, the College’s dedication to service was recognized at the Special Olympics Gala in Harrisburg on November 15, where it was named the “2008 Special Olympics Pennsylvania School of the Year.” Over 1,000 athletes from Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry, and York Counties competed at the College last year, and 644 Messiah faculty, employees, and students lent their support.
In her nomination of Messiah, Kay Straw, director of the Special Olympics in Area M, cited the College’s distinctive promotion of community awareness through “teaching its students to champion the rights of others less fortunate.”
Chad Frey, director of the Agapé Center for Service and Learning, believes that the Special Olympics at Messiah is a powerful picture of the College’s mission being worked out in mutually beneficial and educational relationships. “Our hope is that by volunteering with Special Olympics, students and staff can catch a vision for the need to serve and the joy of serving at the same time,” he says.
— Mackenzie Martin '08