“The Coolest Fundraiser Around” - Students, Staff, and Community Members Participate in Special Olympics Wyoming Jackalope Jump!

Cheers of encouragement and joy echoed off the water as students, staff, parents, and school families from Manor Heights Elementary, Paradise Valley Elementary, and the Natrona County High School JROTC program, along with many other community members, waited eagerly for their turn to climb up the ladder and take the icy plunge in support of Special Olympics Wyoming.

Participating in the event for the eighth consecutive year, this opportunity to support Special Olympics Wyoming has become a beloved tradition among the Manor Heights Elementary School family. This year, the Frozen Jaguars raised over $17,000!  “It is a great feeling to see our school come together every year to help support such a great cause. Participating in any fundraiser is a family commitment, so the success of the Jackalope Jump is really a true testament to the amazing kids and families we have here at Manor Heights,” shared Mr. Vondra, Physical Education teacher at Manor Heights, who spearheads the project each year. 

“Manor Heights is home to students with a variety of abilities, and the importance of inclusivity and opportunities for all is a staple of our belief system,’ shared Principal Heather Rankin. “Participating in this event allows our students, families, and staff to share the beliefs and impact they all have daily at Manor Heights with our greater community.” 

Jennifer Haines, President and CEO of Special Olympics Wyoming, is thrilled to see the impact and influence of this yearly tradition at Manor Heights on their fellow schools across the District. “Manor Heights has been such an amazing support for many years, and it’s great to see them encouraging other schools as well!” 

Paradise Valley Elementary Principal Brett Thielbar expressed his excitement seeing this community opportunity grow at PV, “With this being our second year participating, whether it was through volunteering, donating, or spreading awareness, seeing everyone united for a common goal was truly inspiring. Events like this, supporting incredible organizations, positively contribute to the school community by bringing people together, creating a sense of unity and purpose, and cultivating a culture of kindness, generosity, and social responsibility.”

Joining in on the jump were the Natrona County High School JROTC students. “Army JROTC aims to motivate young people to be better citizens,” shared  Lt. Col. Mark Johnson, Senior Army Instructor for the NCHS Army JROTC program. “One of our learning objectives is to have our student cadets develop a sense of belonging to something larger than themselves, so we strive to develop a sense of selfless service within them and encourage them to have an impact on their community.” 

“NCHS is committed to preparing responsible and lifelong learners who value themselves, contribute to society, and succeed in a changing world,” shared Principal Wilson. “I’m very proud of the JROTC students, staff, and families who participated in and fundraised for this incredible organization.” 

The mission of Special Olympics Wyoming is to provide year round participation in sports training and athletic competition in a variety of well-coached Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities by providing athletes with continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness skills, express courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of talents, skills and friendship with their families, friends, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community. For more information on Special Olympics Wyoming and how you can become involved in next year’s Jackalope Jump, visit https://www.sowy.org

Exceptional work to all participants!