Vote for Widener in the NCAA Division III Special Olympics Spotlight Poll
The Department of Athletics encourages all to vote for Widener in this month's NCAA Division III Special Olympics Poll. The poll, which runs through May 25 at 10 p.m., can be found at www.ncaa.org/D3SpecialOlympics.
Each month, as part of its Division III Special Olympics partnership, the NCAA selects three schools worthy of being considered for the top school for the month. The winning school gets $500 for use at its next Special Olympics event.
In one of Widener's longest-standing traditions, the Department of Athletics on April 13 hosted the Special Olympics for a day of fun, games and overall goodwill.
Student-athletes from all of Widener's teams took part in officiating events ranging from basketball games to swimming races. The student-athletes also helped serve food, conduct karaoke and run a variety of other games. The Pride's coaches also helped out in making this one of the school's highly anticipated days.
A total of 200 volunteers were in attendance, including 132 of Widener's student-athletes. More than 480 Special Olympians took part from the organization's Delaware County Chapter.
"This is a wonderful annual event that the student-athletes look forward to every year," said Brian Sheehan, Widener's coordinator of the event in addition to its women's soccer and golf coach. "Each year, they are excited to see the returning Special Olympic athletes as well as the newcomers. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Special Olympics in the future."
"Special Olympics is a year-around sports organization that provides competitive opportunities to individuals with a variety of intellectual disabilities," said Denise Dellaratta, co-manager of the Delaware County Special Olympics. "The organization also provides competitive opportunities at a variety of levels, including international competitions.
"Widener University has been a cornerstone in the growth of the largest event hosted by Delaware County Special Olympics. Over the last several years, the university and its student-athletes have lent us their hands and their hearts in helping us achieve a successful event."
The event also was the culmination of the NCAA's second annual Division III Week. The purpose of Division III Week is to call attention to each school and highlight student-athletes achievements including athletics, academics and community service. The event is part of Division III's Identity Initiative, which seeks to provide an assortment of tools and programs for use in sharpening the division's identity in explaining why they prefer to compete in Division III.
Widener this week highlighted four student-athletes and how their work on the field, in the classroom and in the community have helped better their lives and support the Division III Identity Initiative. These athletes include seniors Meghan Spence (Havertown, Pa.) from volleyball, Kevin Martin (Havertown, Pa.) from men's soccer, Vanessa Hejnas (Delran, N.J.) from women's soccer and women's basketball and Jody Salvatore (Williamstown, N.J.) from softball.