Student with Special Needs Awarded Trip of a Lifetime to World’s First Ultra-Accessible Family Fun Park - Tech Learning

Student with Special Needs Awarded Trip of a Lifetime to World’s First Ultra-Accessible Family Fun Park

Ten-year-old Dylan Horne and his family from Bryant, Ark. are headed on a trip to Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first ultra-accessible family fun park. Sponsored by PCI Education and Dell, and hosted by online community WeAreTeachers, the nationwide contest asked special education teachers to nominate their students for the trip of a lifetime to Morgan’s Wonderland. As the nominating teacher of the grand-prize winner, Jane Sago of Bryant Public Schools’ Bryant Elementary School will also be awarded a $2,500 gift card for products from PCI Education, the premier provider of resources for students with specialized instructional needs.
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PCI Education, Dell and WeAreTeachers Announce Winners of Morgan’s Wonderland Contest

SAN ANTONIO (May 7, 2012) – Ten-year-old Dylan Horne and his family from Bryant, Ark. are headed on a trip to Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first ultra-accessible family fun park. Sponsored by PCI Education and Dell, and hosted by online community WeAreTeachers, the nationwide contest asked special education teachers to nominate their students for the trip of a lifetime to Morgan’s Wonderland. As the nominating teacher of the grand-prize winner, Jane Sago of Bryant Public Schools’ Bryant Elementary School will also be awarded a $2,500 gift card for products from PCI Education, the premier provider of resources for students with specialized instructional needs.

”Morgan’s Wonderland is honored and delighted to be the destination for this year’s winner,” said Gordon Hartman, CEO of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation and driving force behind the creation of Morgan’s Wonderland. “We enthusiastically applaud PCI Education, Dell and WeAreTeachers for spotlighting outstanding students with special needs and their dedicated teachers.”

One hundred teachers nominated a student and his or her family for a chance to win the trip to Morgan’s Wonderland. The nominations were posted to the WeAreTeachers online community and received more than 40,000 votes over a three-week period. After the voting period, the top 20 nominations with the most votes were sent to a selection committee. After several days of deliberation, the committee selected Horne as the winner of this year’s contest, based on merit. The grand prize includes a three-day, two-night trip for four people to visit Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, valued at $5,000. Teachers who nominated the second through sixth place students will also receive a $500 gift card to spend on PCI Education products.

“We’re deeply moved by the many of touching stories that came in from teachers across the country,” said Lee Wilson, president and CEO of PCI Education. “The incredible response to this contest is testament to the strong community of educators who care so much about supporting students and families with special needs.”

Horne is a third grade student, and he and his twin brother are both diagnosed with Autism. While he is exposed to many different situations and activities, Horne’s communication deficits and sensory needs make it impossible for the family to provide a safe experience at a regular amusement park. According to Sago, Horne’s personality is infectious. He loves fun, craves love from everyone around him and returns the affection in many ways. “Dylan has wiggled his way into the hearts of all that have the pleasure of interacting with him,” said Sago.

“Every story brings to light that lives can be changed and transformation can happen when you pair a child’s desire to learn with support from teachers, an engaged community and resources,” said Kelli Hodges, global education manager at Dell. “We’re inspired by the commitment of educators to make learning for all possible and the sincere dedication to meet every student’s unique learning needs.”

Located in San Antonio, Morgan’s Wonderland is a 25-acre theme park designed specifically for children and adults with special needs, their families, caregivers and friends. The park is completely wheelchair-accessible and features more than 25 elements and attractions, including rides, playgrounds, gardens and an eight-acre catch-and-release fishing lake. Morgan’s Wonderland is a unique oasis that allows people of all abilities to play, learn and share life-changing experiences together in a fun and safe environment.

"WeAreTeachers is pleased to be part of this project that recognizes the incredible work teachers do every day, and to help make a trip of a lifetime possible for this deserving student and family," said Sandy Fivecoat, CEO and founder of WeAreTeachers. "Our work with teachers gives us insight into how important teachers are to students with special needs, and we, too, are inspired reading their nominations."

For more information about the contest, visit www.pcieducation.com/mwpark.

About Morgan’s Wonderland
Morgan’s Wonderland, located in Northeast San Antonio at the intersection of Wurzbach Parkway and Thousand Oaks Drive, is the world’s first ultra-accessible theme park specifically designed for special- needs individuals but built to be enjoyed by everyone. Completely wheelchair-accessible, the unique and colorful park features more than 25 elements and attractions including rides, playgrounds, gardens, an eight-acre catch-and-release fishing lake, 18,000-square-foot special-events center, 575-seat amphitheater, picnic area and rest areas. The non-profit park, nearby STAR Soccer Complex, San Antonio Scorpions FC pro soccer team and Monarch Academy school for students with special needs were created through the vision and leadership of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation. Net profits from STAR Soccer and the Scorpions go to Morgan’s Wonderland to expand programs and services for the special-needs community. For more information, visit www.MorgansWonderland.com, or call (210) 495-5888.

About PCI Education
PCI Education offers more than 7,500 educational materials for a wide range of students with specialized instructional needs. The company’s products are used to help students performing below grade level, students with learning differences, and students with significant or developmental disabilities such as autism. In addition, PCI programs are used in English language learner and adult literacy classes. Based in San Antonio, PCI Education has been helping educators lead students to success in school, at home and in the community since 1991. For more information, visit www.pcieducation.com

About WeAreTeachers
WeAreTeachers (www.weareteachers.com) provides a powerful online community for teachers, combining the expertise of our member community, the resources and knowledge base of our partners and the momentum of social media to recognize and reward innovative teaching ideas. With thousands of teaching ideas submitted for cash and prizes, WeAreTeachers offers a unique forum for creativity and collaboration.

Media Contacts
• Denise Jacks, PCI Education, 800-594-4263, x123, djacks@pcieducation.com
• Emily Embury, C. Blohm & Associates, 608-216-7300 x19, emily@cblohm.com

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