CARRABASSETT VALLEY — Every year, more than a thousand athletes, coaches and volunteers converge onto Sugarloaf Mountain for one of the largest Special Olympics Winter Games in the country. This year’s event will be held Jan. 27-29. Now in its 44th year, the games have evolved to offer alpine/nordic skiing, snowshoe racing and speed skating.

Hundreds of volunteers are on hand for the three-day event. Among those volunteers are the student-athletes of Carrabassett Valley Academy, who look forward every year to upholding a treasured community tradition.

Every year during the games, the CVA community puts a hold on their usual operations to commit fully to the Special Olympians. Every Olympian competing in the alpine events receives a CVA student as their personal coach throughout the duration of the games.

CVA senior Nick Rosenberger reflected on the rewards of working as a one-on-one coach over the past four years: “At face value, it appears as though we are teaching and guiding these athletes. But every year I realize more and more, that that just isn’t the case; we are the ones being taught and guided. While we offer a supportive word or a skiing tip, they in-turn teach us the true definitions of bravery, humility, spirit and sportsmanship. It’s an experience I look forward to every year and always emerge from it a better athlete, teammate and community member.”

Like Nick, countless others throughout the world have found themselves inspired through their experiences with Special Olympians. Their motto rings true for all: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

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