June 21, 2013
Fifty-four student athletes from the Henry Viscardi School at The Viscardi Center, which serves children with severe physical disabilities, earned 47 medals at the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged Victory Challenge held on May 31 and June 1, 2013.
The athletes, ranging in age from five to 21, competed in wheelchair and ambulatory events including basketball and track and field sports such as wheelchair racing, soft discus, club and precision throw, soft shot and distance kick. Collectively, they earned 25 gold, 13 silver and nine bronze medals. The School’s Varsity basketball team won the silver medal while the JV team took home the bronze.
“Our students have been competing at these Games for over 25 years,” shared Joy Krebs, a physical education teacher at the Henry Viscardi School who encourages the students to participate each year. The event is a great form of competition since it encompasses so many activities that are broken out by age, gender and ability so everyone has a chance to succeed. “The children love to compete and this event gives them an opportunity to do so. Without it, where else would they compete,” Krebs noted.
The event is a true family affair as the athletes’ families and friends attend to cheer them on and also provide assistance in the competitions as needed, creating special bonds and memories. Grace, a fifth grader at the Henry Viscardi School, said her favorite part of the Games was doing the club throw with her dad.
The Victory Challenge also gives the athletes a chance to meet students from other states and reconnect with graduates from Henry Viscardi School and those met at previous Games. Its carnival-like atmosphere and demonstration sports make it fun for all who attend. Fourth grader, Dylan described participating in the Games from his point of view, “It was awesome…I had so much fun!”
The Henry Viscardi School at The Viscardi Center is a New York State supported 4201 school that offers parents of children with severe physical disabilities and who often require life-sustaining medical treatment throughout the day, a traditional educational setting option that provides rigorous academics and opportunities for personal growth and leadership development. Its specialized, accessible educational setting provides a fully-enriched academic program, a variety of therapies, assistive technology and medical supports to students who may otherwise need to receive instruction in their homes or a hospital.
Founded by Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., who served as disability advisor to eight U.S. presidents and became one of the world’s leading advocates, The Viscardi Center provides Pre-K through High School education, school-to-work transition services, vocational training, career counseling and placement and workforce diversification assistance to children, adolescents, and adults with disabilities and businesses. A global leader, it employs more than 300 professionals, including experts in education, human resources and technology.