Frannie, a second grade student at St. Madeleine Sophie School was recently the youngest athlete to compete in the Special Olympics Games in Seattle. This is not just a story about Frannie. This is a story about St. Madeleine Sophie School (SMS) and the commitment of the school to empower each child of God to serve, lead, love and learn.
Dan Sherman, the founding principal of SMS and now the Director of Mission and Advancement, and Martine Romero, Principal, lead the charge to make inclusion the fabric of the school. The school was founded so Catholics who have children who learn differently can attend a Catholic school and thrive. The vision is to “live a life directed toward ‘we’ rather than ‘me.’”
“Dan and Martine are constantly thinking about ways to celebrate each child and bring their talents and gifts to the forefront,” says Mike Ronan, Frannie’s father. “When the school was contacted by Special Olympics and told Frannie was going to represent Team Washington at the games, it was the two of them that planned the surprise announcement and press conference at a school assembly. It was as much about Frannie as it was to show all students that they can accomplish anything.”
Frannie was supported and encouraged every step of her journey by her community at SMS. She was empowered to be in the spotlight during the games in part because of her experience at SMS. Team Frannie started at St. Madeleine Sophie School, but her fans soon spread to the likes of Archbishop Sartain and even Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics International. Frannie shared a message of love during the games, but the message of love and hope – and inclusion – was instilled at St. Madeleine Sophie.
Thank you! The 2018 USA Games said, “Rise with Us” and you did – with open hearts and minds. You were magnificent hosts… So many moments moved me while I was in Seattle, too many to list here, but I was especially moved by my guest on stage for the Opening Ceremony, Frannie Ronan, who said to all in the stadium, “I love you.” Frannie is yet another leader in the Inclusion Revolution that is spreading a message of love and acceptance to all.
– Excerpt from a Message from Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics International