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2017 Award Winners

Volunteer of the Year

Chris Shackett, Hinesburg Community School

An individual or group who has demonstrated enthusiasm for Special Olympics Vermont and a dedication to our mission through an event or program support role.

Chris Shackett is a K-8 Physical Education and Health Teacher at Hinesburg Community School. He also serves as a Program Host for the Special Olympics Vermont Young Athletes Program, and the cross country skiing Venue Director for Winter Games.  Beyond Special Olympics, Chris serves as the Director of the SHAPE Vermont Middle School Fitness Competition which is held annually at Norwich University. He holds a Bachelors degree in Physical Education from the University of Vermont and a Masters Degree in Physical Education from the University of Arkansas.  Chris is the 2017 SHAPE Vermont Middles School PE Teacher of the Year. 

Unified Partner of the Year

Grace Brooks, BFA St Albans

A Unified partner that goes above and beyond the playing field to promote social inclusion and change.

This partner has been involved with the BFA Unified Sports program for two years. She is also involved with the community based program, the Franklin County Maple Leafs. She is always supportive, she is always inclusive,and helps in anyway that she can.  This young lady balances multiple sports teams, other co-curricular activities, school work and daily life but she shows up to very Unified practice and competition with a supportive smile and a willingness to help.  She inspires all of us to work hard and to try to brighten up the world with a smile as she does everyday! 

Athlete of the Year

Ryan Krug, Hermitage at Haystack

An athlete who truly represents sharing, skill, courage and joy.

This athlete has made such an impact on his team this year. He has become a role model for Evan, a new athlete on our team, and gives encouragement and support to Evan as he improves his skiing skills. He can be heard shouting "GO EVAN" as Evan skis down the Mountain.  He introduces himself and his teammates to everyone he meets at the Mountain, and tells them he is a Special Olympic skier.  He gave a speech in NY to The Matthew Foundation, telling them about Special Olympics Vermont.  His goal this year is to give more speeches about Special Olympics Vermont, to have fun, and to make sure his teammates ski the best that they can.  

Unified Champion School Coach of the Year

Tracy Martel, Rivendell Academy

A certified Special Olympics coach who has demonstrated a high degree of commitment to athletes through development and implementation of a quality sports training program.

This coach is the kindest, most thoughtful and outgoing coach Special Olympics Vermont has. She does everything from assisting athletes with skill development to tie-dying shirts for the team. She is an incredibly kind individual who lives and stands for the beliefs and mission of the Special Olympics.

Unified Champion Schools Unified Partner of the Year

Noah Martel, Rivendell Academy

A unified partner that goes above and beyond the playing field to promote social inclusion and change.

This partner has dedicated his high school years to partner with Trevor McCormack for both the Unified Snowshoe event and the Unified Bocce.  He has enthusiastically participated in team practices and annual events.   He is also on his school's basketball team and golf team and has missed practices and matches so that he could remain primarily committed to Unified Sports.  He proudly displays his Special Olympics Vermont medals and ribbons alongside his other awards on a shelf in his home.

Law Enforcement Torch Run Volunteer of the Year

CFSS Raysa Ortega, Northwest Regional Correctional Facility

This individual joined the Law Enforcement Torch Run Council shortly after proving she could rally support from her peers at the Vermont Department of Corrections. She has increased participation and fundraising from DOC facilities across the state. She has made Special Olympics Vermont a priority in her community and actively gets involved in any way that she can.  She is a rising star in the Special Olympics Vermont Law Enforcement Torch Run community and we are grateful for her unwavering support.

Most Improved Athlete of the Year

Brittany Corey, Otter Valley Union High School

An athlete who has gained new skills and shown significant growth in their ability during training and competition

This athlete joined Unified snowshoeing and worked hard and had fun.  She then was motivated to try other new sports.  She joined Unified Basketball.  At first, she was very nervous to play and was holding back.  As the season went on she improved her skills and gave her all out on the court.  She even scored several baskets.  She was supportive and encouraging to her teammates as well as those that she played against.  She was a pleasure to watch play.  Brittany then went on to try Unified Bocce.  She was dedicated to attending practices and focused in the tournament play, coming home with a medal.  Again, she showed such improvement in a game she had never played!

Coach of the Year

Scott Crawford, Rutland community program

A certified Special Olympics coach who has demonstrated a high degree of commitment to athletes through development and implementation of a quality sports training program

This coach routinely goes above and beyond for our program.  Not only does he provide athlete transportation, create meaningful practice plans and implement those plans, through the years he has earned the admiration and respect of our athletes. Regardless of any challenge, with his support and assistance we have provided quality experiences for our athletes season after season.

Unified Champion Schools Rookie of the Year

Jebadiah Plouffe, Middlebury Union High School

A athlete who has shown skill and determination during their first year of participation

When this athlete first arrived to play basketball he was shy and unsure of how skillful he could be on the court. In his first game, he handed the ball over to the other team while trying to manage his glasses falling from his face. He would walk down the court, hands down but he always kept smiling. He came a long way when Jeb realized he could jump, he looked like he was flying through the air at times! He found his confidence and became an entirely new athlete with defensive skills like no other.

Rookie of the Year

Evan Visgilio, Hermitage at Haystack

A athlete who has shown skill and determination during their first year of participation

Though this was this athlete’s first year participating in Special Olympics Vermont, one would have thought he had been participating for years. His joy in skiing with his teammates was infectious and he always made sure his teammates are having fun.  Though he had never skied a racecourse before this year, he learned to give advice and encouragement to his teammates.  He is an inspiration to his fellow athletes.  He shows determination to learn, caring to his fellow athletes and joy to all who meet him. 

Athlete Sportsmanship Award

Julian Plante, Rivendell Academy

An athlete who consistently demonstrates good sportsmanship by playing fair, respecting others and handling victory or defeat with grace and dignity.

A newcomer, this athlete has taken it well when he has only gotten a ribbon. He works hard at practice, participating in Skiing, Unified Snowshoing and Unified Bocce.  Being involved in Special Olympics events has also been a great incentive for him to do well in school.

Community Partner of the Year

Union Mutual of Vermont

This organization began sponsoring the Summer Games in 2015.  As part of their partnership they also plan, set up and run the Olympic Town for the Games.  Over the years they expanded our partnership by participating in the Unified Relay across America, the Vermont City Marathon Miles for a Mission Program, and raising nearly $20,000 for the Penguin Plunge.

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