2021 Awards

2021 Awards Ceremony

Special Olympics Alberta invites you to join us for our 2021 EXCEL Awards!

This year we changed the playbook on our traditional awards and will be recognizing 11 winners for 5 categories: Empowerment, Excellence, Respect, Diversity, and Inclusion, along with our Unified School Award.

The Excel Awards will take place virtually on November 18, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. MST premiering on our YouTube and Facebook.

Mark it down in your calendar and join us to celebrate the athletes, coaches, volunteers, supporters, families, caretakers, and community members that make our movement amazing.

Also, join along with the conversation online that night using #EXCELAwards

Our Award Winners

Empowerment Award: Madison Bailey-Borges, Special Olympics Alberta-Edmonton athlete


Over the past year Madison has taken amazing strides in empowering her fellow Special Olympics athletes. As a Health Messenger, she has kept athletes connected and informed about health initiatives and virtual opportunities. Through her role in the See My Ability and Can’t Beat Us campaigns, Madison has continued to provide a powerful voice that advocates on behalf of other athletes, while continuing to learn and grow. She spreads the word on what inclusion can do and the impact Special Olympics has on the athletes.




Empowerment Award: Amanda Trenchard, Special Olympics Alberta-Edmonton coach


Amanda continued to step up to the plate, creating innovative ways to keep athletes active and deliver programming, without traditional in-person programs in 2020. Her leadership and incredible commitment to the movement has inspired others to offer virtual workouts, Q&A’s, and other opportunities for our athletes. She is also heavily involved with LETR as the Chair of the Edmonton region, helping to raise funds and awareness to empower athletes through events like the Polar Plunge and VSS.




Excellence Award: Marie Powell, Special Olympics Alberta-Calgary coach


Marie was critical in the success of the PEAK Program, designing the entire training regimen for all four seasons. This included building a template for all facilitators and participating each week alongside the athletes. Marie’s passion for the movement and extreme dedication to coaching has been unwavering throughout her tenure with Special Olympics. She inspires everyone involved to best their best and continue to push the limits on what we can achieve.




Excellence Award: Kevin Petryshyn, Special Olympics Alberta-Grande Prairie

Kevin has been a leader in the PEAK Program acting as a role model that strives for excellence in each session and challenge. He respects others and their efforts, empowers athletes to step outside their comfort zone, and promotes inclusion through the support and encouragement of his fellow athletes. Kevin has been heavily involved in LETR, having designed the VSS shirt logo and actively participating in the event.





Respect Award: Leonka Kaluha, Special Olympics Alberta-Calgary athlete


Leonka defines respect and support for her fellow athletes. After completing the Virtual Health Messenger Training, she has been working on an anti-bullying advocacy campaign. As a member of the PEAK Program, Leonka creates a supportive and welcoming environment by encouraging other athletes to do their best.





Respect Award: Daelan Brandle, Special Olympics Alberta-Edmonton athlete

Daelan has always been a compassionate and caring teammate that encourages and helps his peers. He is always so respectful of coaches and shows up with a smile on his face to every program. As an athlete ambassador for the Edmonton affiliate, Daelan is always eager to share stories and speak to members of the community about SO and the benefits of being involved.




Diversity Award: Marilyn Ritchie, Special Olympics Alberta-Calgary volunteer


Marilyn has been an advocate for Special Olympics for a long time and someone who continues to volunteer in support of our athletes. Her efforts to include everyone and to advocate for athletes across the movement does not go unnoticed. As a volunteer with PEAK, Marilyn answers questions for anyone who asks and promotes the importance of the program whenever she can.





Diversity Award: Karen Unger, Special Olympics Alberta-Edmonton coach

Karen has empowered athletes over the past year as the co-host of the SOA Social Club, a place where athletes of all backgrounds meet and connect. Karen has hosted multiple PEAK sessions where she answers everyone’s questions and helps keep all athletes healthy, connected, and informed virtually. She continues to raise awareness and funds in support of athletes achieving their dreams.





Inclusion Award: Serena Curtis, Special Olympics Alberta-Edmonton coach


Serena’s contributions as a program committee member, coach, and volunteer with SOA-Edmonton have been immeasurable. She was critical in building more specialized and individual training for athletes of all levels to promote inclusion in Edmonton. Her involvement with motionball further influences the culture of inclusivity here in our community.





Inclusion Award: Chelsea Fidler, Special Olympics Alberta supporter

Chelsea was one of the creators of the PEAK Program, a virtual program dedicated to fostering an inclusive environment for athletes to stay connected, active, and healthy over the past year. She acted as a driving force for #10ADayTilItsOK campaign here in Alberta and were key in developing a mentorship and onboarding program to encourage affiliates to include athletes in a meaningful way on their local boards.




Unified School Award: Notre Dame High School, Calgary


Since 2016, Notre Dame High School in Calgary has been at the forefront of the Unified Sport movement. Their athletes and partners participate in all three sports we offer in Alberta: basketball, bean bag toss, and bocce. They have made Unified Sport part of the culture at Notre Dame and inspire other schools to #PlayUnified as well.