“This one’s for our teachers, our number one role models, biggest supporters and truest cheerleaders!”
They’re the ones who celebrate with us when we win and motivate us to go on when we give up. There are teachers all around, sparking new ideas within us and inspiring us to realize our full potential.
- One who inspires, guides, enlightens and motivates
- A tireless, dedicated professional who transforms the lives of others
- One who makes the world a better place
This Teacher’s Day, we celebrate the efforts of a unique set of teachers who dedicate themselves to making this world a more inclusive place for all! Here are four role models we’re glad to have in our lives:
Sarah Dalton – The one who teaches us never to give up
“At horse riding, I legit get back on the horse, but in life in general, I always try to get back on the horse; climb that mountain again.”
Sarah, an athlete leader with Special Olympics New Zealand, was born with CHARGE Syndrome, a rare condition that affects almost all her senses and organs, Living with CHARGE Syndrome forces Sarah to make an active effort to work on tasks many of us take for granted, including her balance, sitting, seeing, hearing, swallowing, and even breathing. She was once a subject of vicious bullying in school, but the experience has only made her stronger. Over the years, Sarah has amassed many feathers in her hat and emerged as an accomplished athlete and leader. The equestrian athlete has several accolades for the sport under her belt. The achievement she’s most proud of is the trophy she won at Bartley’s Riding Academy, where she competed against able-bodied people and came out on top. One of the most cheerful and confident people we’ve encountered, Sarah is living proof that happiness is a choice!
Today, we thank Sarah for teaching us that no one is defined by their disability and that we can all achieve our dreams if we put our minds to it!
Ben Haack – The one who teaches us that we can all make a difference
“If we all stop being judgmental, if we slow down and provide everyone with an inclusive environment to show what they can do, the results can be amazing.”
Ben, an athlete leader with Special Olympics Australia, also serves on the global board of directors for Special Olympics International.
He has Asperger’s Syndrome and understands that people with intellectual disabilities (ID) often do not get equal access to quality education, employment and health care. He has been speaking all over the world, to amplify the message of treating people with respect and dignity, giving them opportunity and choice.
Ben believes that our voices are the most powerful tool in changing the world and that we can all be advocates for inclusion. He teaches us that every single one of us has the power to make a real difference in the world!
Kevan Lee – The one who teaches us that humility is the best teacher
“Volunteering isn’t about ‘us’ helping or teaching ‘them’. It’s about mutual learning, respect, and making friends. They aren’t ‘beneficiaries’, they’re our buddies and athletes we learn and play with.”
Kevan, a volunteer coach with Special Olympics Singapore, is involved with both the badminton outreach program for athletes with ID as well as the Young Athletes program for younger children with and without ID. He is a teacher at Saint Anthony’s Canossian Secondary School and has inspired his own students to become volunteers. Together, they have learnt important life lessons from the athletes of Special Olympics, including values of strength, resilience, and grit.
Travelling to Abu Dhabi with the Singapore Team for the Special Olympics World Summer Games opened Kevan’s eyes to the possibility of sports creating a truly empowered and inclusive world, and he works tirelessly each day to make that happen. In Kevan’s own words, “I hope for our young people, with and without disabilities, to experience life together so that we can create a truly inclusive society with equal opportunities for all!”
Simran Sahni – The one who teaches us that we can achieve anything we set our minds to
“I will not stop working for the cause until I see people with intellectual disabilities working in different professional fields and being self-sufficient. I’m committed to transform this society into not just an integrated one, but an inclusive one.”
Simran is a youth leader who organized Special Olympics Bharat’s first National Youth Summit. She believes in the power of young people to build an inclusive society that is free from all social injustice. As a leading advocate for Unified Leadership, Simran has learnt and taught many invaluable lessons. One of her greatest learnings was taught to her by Shrey Kadian, an athlete with ID, and that was the value of hard work and perseverance. They have helped each other through highs and lows, and she’s even overcome her fear of public speaking, thanks to Shrey’s support.
At the beginning of her time with Special Olympics Bharat, Simran used to get severe stage fright. But with practice, she gained confidence. Today, she is an accomplished and inspirational speaker!
Thank you Simran, for being the teacher we needed, for leading by example and giving us the courage to overcome our fears!
This Teacher’s Day, we thank all our unexpected and extraordinary teachers for the lessons they leave us with, for helping us be better individuals and enriching our lives with knowledge and meaning, but mostly for the realization that there is a teacher within each one of us. We all have something invaluable to offer and we too can become teachers in our own ways!