Groton Senior Kinsey Henry will have the amazing opportunity later this month to compete in the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. Henry will represent the USA in Women’s Snowshoeing as she competes in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay race events. The opening ceremony will take place Saturday, March 18th and the games will run through Friday March 24th.
Teacher Rocky Baughman was one of the people who helped Henry get involved in the Special Olympics. “[Kinsey] seemed to love the competition and was opening up and making friends with a lot of other athletes,” Baughman said. “She won the admiration of her coaches and fellow athletes. I am so proud of the gracious, caring, helpful, strong young woman she has become.”She has been participating in a number of different events through Special Olympics for about five years. “Kinsey’s self-esteem has soared,” said counselor Laura May, speaking about the benefits of her participation in Special Olympics. “Her social and communication skills have really blossomed. Her willingness to try new things and to meet new people has increased dramatically.”
Two years ago, while looking for an event to do in the wintertime, Henry decided to start snowshoeing because it seemed well suited to her athleticism and her affinity for running. That turned out to be true, and she won a gold medal in the event at a statewide competition which in turn lead her to be selected for the World Games.
“I am absolutely thrilled that she has been chosen to go to the World Games,” Rocky Baugman said. “What an exciting opportunity for her and her family, something that very few people get to experience and something that will be a lasting memory for her lifetime.”
After competing in the Special Olympics in Austria, Kinsey Henry was welcomed back to students chanting “USA!” at a surprise pep rally at the Groton High School auditorium. Kinsey expressed her thanks for her family and all her teachers saying, “This was an amazing experience. If I think back to 6th grade, I would never, ever have thought this could happen!”
Henry brought back home with her two silver medals and a bronze medal. She earned silver medals in both the 100 and the 200 meter snowshoe race. She also earned a bronze medal for a team relay race. High School Principal Laura Norris said, “She has done such as an amazing job showing her spirit not only for her country, but also for our school.”