HELENA — Just over three years ago, the Special Olympics Club at Carroll College was created from scratch by now-graduated Carroll nursing major Cara White.
White’s sophomore year, Special Olympics Outreach Director Nancy Undercofler sent out an email to Carroll students to gauge if there would be interest in starting the club. White and some of her friends went to the outreach meeting and she became the president of the club from there.
“And I like to take charge of things. So I ended up drafting the whole Constitution, creating the club from scratch, getting it approved by ASCC. And then like starting it as a sophomore, and then I've been the president and CEO, I guess, ever since then. So this is my third year as president of the club,” she said.
Because of White, Carroll College has won Montana's Unified Champion School of the Year Award which requires them to meet three marks: inclusive leadership, whole school engagement, and unified sport.
“So inclusive leadership, we have a leadership board as a club, and we have athletes, Special Olympics, athletes on that leadership board. So Taylor Davis is our UCS coordinator, which means he coordinates between the community and the school. And then next year, he's actually going to be co-president. So that's awesome. We just voted him in. It's a democracy, basically, the club and the team in general. So everything we do is presented to the team itself to vote. So everyone gets a say, in the matter, everyone gets a choice. And then home-school engagement, we do a lot of activities with Carroll in general. And we do a lot of stuff with different teams across campus. We collaborate with other clubs, we host our events on campus, and everyone's welcome to them,” White said.
One would think being the president of such a large club would be stressful, but White says it's the one day of the week she looks forward to.
“I think just to be present, honestly, to just like, live every moment and just be happy. I guess like, especially when we're at practices, like you really are not thinking about anything other than like, living in the moment and being happy and hanging out with everyone. and just being inclusive, like, like, sometimes, like, I guess I never really put that much thought into it. because I've always been a part of Special Olympics. But, seeing all of these athletes have jobs in the community and being able to be a part of that and being able to be a part of our campus, like how important that is to them, is something really special that I've got to see and just having them be there with us when we're doing just everyday stuff. It's just that much more special.”
The Special Olympics Club at Carroll College has now applied for a national award.