Penn trophies polished for good cause
Penn High School is donating forgotten treasures to the Saint Joseph County Special Olympics to reward hardworking athletes. The Saint Joseph County Special Olympics, which serves athletes with special needs, does not have trophies to give to contestants, but Penn’s donation is going to make their dream a reality.
Ariel Seabert, a Special Olympics athlete and Penn 2015 graduate, brainstormed the plan her senior year after seeing hundreds of trophies collecting dust in storage. She shared her idea with her environmental science teacher, Mr. Poling, who helped to get Penn administration’s approval of the donation.
The Special Olympics is an organization worthy of attention, something the co-coordinator of Saint Joseph County Special Olympics, Margaret Hicks, knows well. “It’s camaraderie, a new type of family really, and that’s special for these people,” she says. Penn’s donation is bringing awareness to students and staff about the works of this group.
When Hicks came to the PNN studio, she immediately said how proud she is of Seabert, “Ariel is fixing up the trophies… and that’s big because we run all on donations and we couldn’t afford trophies otherwise.” Hicks is also thrilled with all the ways Penn is helping and can help in the future. Hicks says,”… I hope to have an athletic event in the Spring here at Penn for our competitors.”While that’s still a dream, the trophy donation is a start.
These trophies serve more than one purpose; in fact, they help an environmental science class learn about sustainability. The Penn science teacher who helped Seabert to envision a new use for the trophies, Mr. Poling, says “We do many different projects in science and students always ask, ‘Well what is this going to do, and how does this relate to my life?’.” this helps the students to learn about resources other than coal, oil, or any number of recyclables. This project is not only helping the Special Olympics, but also showing students how science and byproducts of it are a part of everyday life. “We turned her project into a sustainability project, and sustainability is a big part of environmental science,” Poling said. For now, it’s not so much a lesson to Ariel Seabert as a mission close to heart. “I think it’ll make a difference in their lives… and make the athletes so happy to receive these trophies.”