Sophia Jablonski, a Senior at Carl Sandburg High School, has been named the recipient for the 2017 ICEC “Yes I Can” Award. “This award program honors and celebrates the achievements of children and youth (ages 2-21) with exceptionalities. The purpose of the award is to encourage individuals to seek their highest potential and to increase public awareness of the abilities, aspirations, and personal qualities of those with disabilities”. In addition to being the recipient of this award, Jablonski will have the opportunity to attend the ICEC Fall Convention awards ceremony luncheon to receive her award, be featured on the website as well as other media outlets, and have her nomination submitted to the National CEC award review committee.
Jablonski has cerebral palsy and has not let that stand in the way of her many accomplishments and positive attitude. In her junior year at Sandburg, Jablonski was the IHSA Sectional Champion in bowling with a 114 average, which was 15 pins above her season average. She was also one of the first two bowlers in the history of the IHSA to qualify in the wheelchair division of the state tournament. Jablonski’s coach Joe Geiger stated “She not only did well on the alley for herself, but she also was very vocal in cheering on her teammates. She even expresses that in the interviews that she gave as well at the City of Orland Park Town Meeting”.
“Sophia was nominated for this award as a result of her winning the state wheelchair bowling championship in Illinois. This was the first time a student with exceptionalities won the state championship” said Director of Special Services, Donna Herman. “Sophia has a ‘can do’ attitude with everything she approaches. She finds the goodness in others, is very kind hearted, and looks for the positive”.
Sophia has been bowling since elementary school, however, due to her love for theater, she was not able to find the time to compete in Bowling and perform in theater until her junior year. “One of her goals this season is to show other people who are in a wheelchair that they too can perform and is encouraging others to take part in this activity” said Geiger.