Kyle McChesney is helping a generation of students with disabilities prepare to compete in Special Olympics. McChesney, who works in the maintenance department at the Y.A.L.E. School Cherry Hill campus, recently won first place in his age group in “One More Tri”, a triathlon competition held in Asbury Park to raise money for Special Olympics of New Jersey.
A group of Y.A.L.E. School students traveled to the event to cheer his victory. McChesney hopes to mentor these students and introduce them to the sport. He was encouraged to support the students’ athletic endeavors by Deb Snyder, physical education teacher at the Y.A.L.E. School.
“Sports and athletics is a venue where students with disabilities can be successful among their peers,” said Snyder, a recognized leader in the field. She was honored in 2011 by Special Olympics New Jersey with their Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding, tireless efforts on behalf of children with disabilities in the region.
McChesney and Snyder have set their sights on 2014, when the Special Olympics National Summer Games come to New Jersey, and will include a triathlon event for the first time, as a demonstration sport. The pair hopes to spend the next year recruiting, training and mentoring Y.A.L.E. School students with autism, Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD and other disabilities to prepare them to participate in the event.
“The Y.A.L.E. School has fielded students in Special Olympics events for 22 years, but triathlon offers an entirely new challenge,” said Snyder. “With Kyle as a mentor, I know our students are up to it.”