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PICTURES: Lansingburgh Hosts Turnpike Elementary Special Olympics Event!

June 6, 2022

Special Olympics New York and the Lansingburgh Central School District co-hosted a Young Athletes Special Olympics event celebrating 25 student-athletes from Turnpike Elementary School on June 3, 2022.

The Special Olympics games took place on the Turnpike Elementary School Soccer Field and were followed by a closing ceremony where each student was presented with a ribbon for their achievements by members of the Troy Police Department.       

This event was the result of months-long planning by both district and Special Olympics New York staff. It began with Turnpike Elementary’s Physical Education Teacher, Nicholas Van Vorst, wanting to help reframe how individuals thought about these students’ abilities and skills.

“There are many times when these students are only thought and talked about in terms of what they are incapable of doing. After working with the students more, it became clear to me that I wanted to help change that mindset and highlight all the abilities they do have,” said Mr. Van Vorst.

“The first thing that came to mind to accomplish that was the Special Olympics, so this entire school year we have been following the Special Olympics Young Athletes program in the students' physical education classes.”

The Young Athletes program came with a final event incorporated into it and the June 3 event at Turnpike Elementary was the culmination of it. 

“The Special Olympics Young Athletes Program sets the stage for a lifetime of inclusion for students both with and without intellectual differences,” said Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman. “Congratulations to Lansingburgh Central School District leadership, faculty, staff - and most importantly, the students - on a successful first year and many more to come.”

The district would like to extend special thanks to Special Olympics New York for their collaboration and assistance in making this event possible. Additional thanks go to all the district staff who helped out on this special day, with a big shout out to Mr. Van Vorst for spearheading the entire event.