Student Spotlight: Meet our Special Olympics Athlete of the Year

It is such a delight to feature the recipient of our Athlete of the Year Award. Latham School’s Physical Education teacher Ron Goguen presented the award at our June 21st End of Year Celebration with more than 200 attendees. Excerpts from Ron’s award presentation follow:

“It is with great pleasure that I am here to present the Special Olympics Athlete of the Year Award!

Before I do, I’d like to speak about this individual. This student-athlete has exemplified all the characteristics that make up the award’s parameters. The core values at Latham Centers have given this student a pathway to succeed. Mastery, Belonging, Independence, and Generosity are shown daily by this year’s recipient. A complete team-player, he would often rather see his peers succeed over himself – all the while, showing you his great big smile.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of some extraordinary teams in my life, including the teams here at Latham. The staff here is second to none and put their hearts and souls into the success and happiness of our kids daily. Thank you all for that!

Throughout the many teams I’ve been a part of, I’ve learned what makes the best teammate. It’s what made Michael Jordan the best NBA Basketball player of all time: the ability to make the teammates around you better. Jordan made his teams great. It’s about doing the best with what you’ve got……not making excuses.

You don’t always get to choose your teammates or your situation. But you can try your darndest to be better! Better than yesterday! I found this to be true about six years ago when one of our student groups was on a nature hike in Nickerson State Park. A peer had taken a bit of a tumble and was seemingly in significant distress. Before any staff could act, it was this student who summoned his other peers to jump to action and assist her out of that “treacherous ravine” (wink), guiding her step-by-step, all the way back to the van.

It’s actions like this that define the heart of a champion! You, Evan K., have the heart of a champion, and since your arrival here at Latham, you have made us all better than yesterday. Thank you for that, and congratulations, you are this year’s Special Olympics ATHLETE OF THE YEAR!”

Pictured: Evan is welcomed to the stage by Ron Goguen to receive Latham Centers’ Special Olympics Athlete of the Year Award.

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