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Fred Schmidt to Receive Special Olympics Spirit Award

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Frederique Schmidt, Community Service Manager and US Modern Language Instructor, has been selected to receive the Outstanding Spirit Award during the Special Olympics of Minnesota Distinguished Service Awards ceremony Sept. 28.

Schmidt, who coordinates service and outreach for the upper school, is also an integral part of the Special Olympics Poly Hockey event held annually at Breck School.

"When I first came into this position, I was told that we had this Poly Hockey tournament and that it is a lot of work!" says Schmidt. "I kind of inherited this program and it was kind of just a one-off that was a nice addition to our service work. As I was getting more involved, I got to know more about the organization and players and we had a lot of great feedback about hosting the event at Breck."

Students started hosting community activities like Bingo and kids were getting more involved. That led Schmidt to believe there had to be more to the relationship with Special Olympics than just Poly Hockey.

"We started doing the Polar Plunge with just a couple kids and last year we had almost 25," says Schmidt. "Then three years ago I approached the Academy of Whole Learning regarding a partnership with our Wednesday morning service work and they were interested." Breck Upper School students travel to the Academy of Whole Learning, a private school specifically designed for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or related learning differences, every Wednesday volunteering their time in the classroom and mentoring students.

And more initiatives continue to grow and develop.

"I just started looking around the community to find opportunities to make our work more meaningful," Schmidt adds. 

Schmidt's goal is to tear down barriers and provide opportunities for all students.

"I want to break down the idea of 'the other,'" says Schmidt. "We just needed to create opportunities to normalize relationships."

Breck School has maintained a partnership with the Special Olympics for 30 years. For more information about Special Olympics or to attend the Sept. 28 awards ceremony, visit their website