- Grand Island Central School District
VCMS Viking Olympics Helps Athletes to Compete
Seventy-two Special Olympic athletes who compete at the state games have been sponsored by Veronica E. Connor Middle School through its Viking Olympics fundraiser. The school is currently the No. 1 school in Western New York in terms of the proceeds they have raised.
2019 marked the sixth year that Viking Olympics was held and over $35,000 has been raised for the Special Olympics of WNY. At Viking Olympics, VCMS students raise money and compete against each other in Olympic-style games and events. There are food trucks, games, basket raffle, and attractions for the whole family.
“We started organizing this event because the students love sports and competing against one another. We didn't have any activities after school that would allow them to do this so we decided let’s have a fundraiser for the Special Olympics because at the time we had some middle school students who were part of the Special Olympics,” said Deanna Przepiora, who organizes the event with Tracy Shores.
Each year since its inception, the event has grown. The first year, students raised money in order to participate on a team and the competition was right after school and it was only for students. The next year, it became a community event where parents and businesses were involved until it grew to be an evening event with food trucks, a family game room, dance demos, a basket raffle, informational tables along the Viking mall and bounce houses.
“Most of our students have not heard of Special Olympics when we first introduce the Viking Olympics,” she said. “We show the students a very heartfelt video explaining the importance behind the Special Olympics and what it means to the athletes.”
“I think this event is so important for our students and our community. We are helping our students learn teamwork, leadership skills and an act of kindness,” she said. “They are helping people achieve their goals and accomplish their dreams with being involved in the Special Olympics organization. The look of pride on our students’ faces when we present the check to the Special Olympics is unforgettable. The night of the Viking Olympics is very special and heartfelt because we invite Special Olympic athletes to come and join a team - they are Friends United. Seeing them compete against our students is priceless. Our students are very kind, encouraging and respectful in every way!”