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Welcome to My Personal Page
Help Us Go For Gold at the
2018 Special Olympics USA Games!
I've been selected to represent Special Olympics New York in Seattle Washington for the 2018 USA Games in Seattle July 1-6, 2018.
The money we raise will help underwrite the cost of my trip such as airfare and uniforms.
I am seventeen, happy and energetic. My Special Olympics New York gymnastics teammates are my friends and I enjoy spending time with them.
Through Special Olympics New York, I have gained skills and confidence. With guidance from my coach, my gymnastics skills have grown and I am proud of my accomplishments.
I have developed my skills so much that I was selected to represent my state as a gymnast in the USA Games in Seattle this year. When I walk down the halls of the school, nearly everyone says “hi Stephi” and I like to say “hi” back. I enjoy traveling to new places and the new opportunities Special Olympics New York has provided. It has expanded my awareness of the country.
Special Olympics New York has given me a sense of accomplishment and pride that I would not have been able to be part of otherwise. It also gives me a reason to be around others.
I feel so lucky because I am going to Seattle with my coach Marlene Michels. She has been volunteering for Special Olympics for over 20 years and she is the best coach!
About my coach:
Marlene has a cousin who is autistic and non-verbal and the only two people that her cousin would look in the eye was Marlene and her father. Throughout Marlene’s life, she created a special bond and connection with her cousin that she soon realized was unbreakable.
When Marlene was only a child, she realized that she wanted to work with individuals with disabilities in the future. Marlene attended SUNYCortland for Physical Education, here she became a teacher’s assistant for children with disabilities and adaptive Physical Education. Once Marlene completed her undergrad, she continued her education with The Ohio State University. At The Ohio State University, Marlene received her Master’s in Physical Education in 1992-1993. At just 22 years old, Marlene took courses and taught children who who were deaf, blind and quadriplegic.Once Marlene completed her schooling, she developed a Special Olympics training club in the Afford, Ohio school system for adaptive Physical Education inclusion. In addition, Marlene taught sign language and applied behavior analysis. Throughout Marlene’s time in New Lexington, Ohio she developed a Special Olympics gymnastics, track & field club in a small public school with their Athletic Director Dale Dixon. In Afford, Ohio Marlene became a part of the American Alliance for Health Physical Education for recreation and dance.
After a year, the school developed an entire curriculum at Franklin County Community Department of Education in Columbus, Ohio where Marlene started traveling Special Olympics physical education throughout the country.During this time, Marlene published an article for Adaptive Physical Education for both state and national conventions. In addition, through multiple connections that Marlene had created with the New York City Board of Education, she adapted a Physical Education program for four years.
During Marlene’s time in NYC, she formed a Special Olympics gymnastics and dance team at P.S. 332 East in Brooklyn, New York. Later on down the road in 2000, Marlene developed an adaptive physical education program at East Northport schools in Long Island. In Long Island, she created a program for gymnastics and a track & field team for her students.One the students, Mikey Brannigan competed in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio.
After she moved to upstate New York to raise a family and settle down, she started a position at World Class Gymnastics where she currently teaches children with and without disabilities. It is a dream come true that Marlene will be attending USA Games and it is unique that she is going to be Stephanie's coach in Seattle as she is here in the Capital District Region. It is rare that the athletes have the luxury of competing with the coach that they train with in their hometown.