By Anya TikkaMILFORD — Nicole Lindsley from the Class of 2004 returned to the Delaware Valley School District as the Special Olympics Global Messenger.
“Thank you for inviting me," Lindsley told the school board at their recent meeting.
As part of the Special Olympics program, Lindsley has traveled extensively both in the United States and abroad.
She started in the district by attending Dingman Delaware Elementary School and continued through high school. She graduated from a Technical Institute in Johnstown, Pa., taking part in the Special Olympics throughout. She was in the school swim and track and field team while attending school in the district.
“I have been working as a Walmart associate for over six years, and I’ve been living in my own apartment with my roommate," she said.
“I have an intellectual disability," she continued. "This is just a label. It doesn’t define who I am or what I can become. Labels are for soup cans, not people."
Lindsley laughed cheerfully at that, and had the board members laughing too.
She went on to describe how she competed in Special Olympics track and field events during her years at Delaware Valley School District, and also in college. She continues to compete, and reported that she won state-level medals at the winter games, including alpine skiing, and at the summer and fall games too.
“I attribute a lot of my success to the amazing support of my family and support class,” she said. “They taught me everyday life skills. The education I received while in the Delaware Valley School District was invaluable in and out of classroom.”
Lindsley said the Special Olympics are not just about competing. "It’s about friendship, dependability," she said. "Being part of it has given me real self-confidence to be an independent adult, to have a job working in the community, and to achieve the goals I set for myself."
Becoming a Special Olympics Messenger was one of her goals, and she takes it very seriously. Volunteering and being a good role model are important to her, she said. She continues to volunteer in several area organizations as a way of giving back and saying "thank you."
She especially thanked the board of education and teachers for their continued support of the Special Olympics.
The board members congratulated her on her continuing success.