An Olympic Achievement
Submitted by Katie B
"You can get involved in so many different things, and each one shapes you."
While still in high school, Katie Bonnell '14 sat among the spectators at the Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SPO) Fall Festival, cheering as the Festival director led the opening ceremonies. Her father leaned over and pointed to the podium. "That will be you one day," he said.
Katie had been attending the Fall Festival for years. Her older brother, Greg, was a Special Olympics athlete, and she never missed the chance to watch him compete. No one who knew her would doubt that one day she'd be a part of the largest student-run Special Olympics event in the world. After all, Katie had always wanted to inspire others the way the athletes inspired her.
Eventually, Katie enrolled at Villanova and joined the SPO committee, forming relationships with experienced members who encouraged her to apply for leadership positions on the committee and be more active on campus.
At Villanova, Katie quickly found activities she was passionate about.
She joined the Student Nurses Association of Pennsylvania, played intramural basketball, volleyball and rugby and submitted artwork to campus art shows.
And yes, she also became the director of the SPO Pennsylvania Fall Festival, overseeing 4,000 volunteers for the Festival's 25th anniversary.
Seeing her brother compete in the world's largest student-run Special Olympics event changed a young spectator's heart. The result:
She came to Villanova and rose to be leader of the event on its silver anniversary.