Not a single seat was empty Monday night as crowds of Greeks filled each and every row of Plachta Auditorium, ready to celebrate and raise money for Special Olympics.
For this year’s Greek Week, all philanthropy is going toward Special Olympics. Zachary Warner, sports and training coordinator for Special Olympics, said he’s excited about raising money for the organization.
“The fundraising really helps out the athletes in Special Olympics,” Warner said. “We get a unique opportunity to grow relationships as well.”
Special Olympics athlete, Michelle Trombley, discussed her experiences and growth with the program.
“I’ve been a part of the Special Olympics for 18 years,” Trombley said. “I have done track, swimming, softball, cycling and many other sports.”
Trombley didn’t let anything stop her from achieving her goals. Despite two ACL surgeries and a total knee replacement, she kept moving forward.
Her passion for cycling and the rush she feels competing will never stop her from doing what she wants to do in life.
Student volunteers are what Dan Ekonen, director of outreach and school initiatives, values the most.
“The interactions we get with the athletes and students is amazing,” Ekonen said. “The athletes are not very much different than you and I.”
The money raised not only supports the organization, but also changes athlete’s lives in a positive way, Ekonen said.
“We are so grateful at Special Olympics that the Greeks are raising funds to change the lives of our athletes,” Ekonen said. “Inside each athlete is a champion.”
Ohio junior Brittany Felix found the event to be inspiring as a member participating in Greek Week.
“I really appreciated them having the athletes come in,” Felix said. “I think that’s going to help us stay motivated throughout the week and remind us of why we’re really here.”
Making a difference in the lives of Special Olympics athletes is something that Felix is looking forward to this week.
Having the Special Olympics speakers come in to prepare students for Greek Week motivated Adrian junior Ashlea Phenicie.
“The event was a really nice way to get fired up,” Phenicie said. “It’s important to remind us what Greek Week is all about, and it helps us show our passion for the Special Olympics.”