SAN ANTONIO, April 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- On April 9, eight-year-old Casey Rohrer from Hermosa Beach, Calif., traveled with his family to Morgan's Wonderland, the world's first ultra-accessible family fun park designed for children and adults with special needs. Casey, who is unable to walk or speak on his own due to Cerebral Palsy, was selected second runner-up in a nationwide contest sponsored by PCI Education. Casey was nominated by Jeannine Madden, teacher at Hermosa Valley School, and received nearly 3,500 online votes to win a trip to Morgan's Wonderland.
During his visit, Casey was the guest of honor to help Morgan's Wonderland kick off its first birthday celebration with founder and philanthropist Gordon Hartman. Casey cut a ribbon with Hartman to signify the start of the month-long series of birthday festivities. Morgan's Wonderland opened March 3, 2010, and celebrated its grand opening on April 10, 2010. The inspiration for Morgan's Wonderland came from Hartman's special needs daughter Morgan. Her spirit, despite personal challenges, inspired Hartman to create a fun and safe haven for those with special needs.
"Morgan's Wonderland is a special place where anyone can have fun," said Hartman, head of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation and driving force in the creation of Morgan's Wonderland. "We're extremely proud to partner with PCI Education to provide students, such as Casey and his family, with a memorable experience at Morgan's Wonderland."
Located in San Antonio, Morgan's Wonderland is a 25-acre 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 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.
"Thanks to Casey, the students and staff at our school have developed an enhanced sense of empathy and understanding about his disability by learning to interact and involve him as they would any other child at school," said Jeannine Madden. As the nominating teacher of the grand prize winner, Jeannine Madden has been awarded a suite of PCI Education curriculum products, including the PCI Reading Program Level One Software.
Nearly 250 teachers nominated a student and his or her family for a chance to win a free trip to Morgan's Wonderland. The nominations were posted in the WeAreTeachers community and received more than 56,000 votes over a three-week period. A panel of judges reviewed the top 10 nominees who received the most votes, and selected the grand prize winner and runners-up.
"The opportunity to meet Casey and his family was a pleasure, and a perfect example of why Morgan's Wonderland is so important to the population of students we serve," said Lee Wilson, CEO and President of PCI Education. "The nationwide response to the contest demonstrates this, and led us to increase our contribution to send additional students to Morgan's Wonderland."
Overwhelmed by the support of the students' teachers, families and communities, PCI Education sought additional resources to send the two runners-up in addition to the grand prize winner to Morgan's Wonderland, and provide additional materials to teachers who nominated these students. In addition, Jordan Ford and Holiday Inn Hotel-Market Square donated transportation and accommodations, respectively, for Casey and his family during their visit to San Antonio.
About PCI Education
PCI Education offers more than 7,500 instructional materials for a wide range of students with special needs, including significant or developmental disabilities such as autism. In addition, the company's products are used in English language learner and adult literacy classes, and to help students performing below grade level. 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 http://www.pcieducation.com or phone 800-594-4263.
About Morgan's Wonderland
Morgan's Wonderland, the world's first family fun park designed with special-needs individuals of all ages in mind, features more than 25 elements and attractions including rides, playgrounds, gardens, an eight-acre fishing lake, 18,000-square-foot special-events center, 575-seat amphitheater, picnic area and rest areas throughout the park. For more information, visit http://www.morganswonderland.com. The non-profit park and nearby STAR Soccer Complex were created through the vision and leadership of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation of San Antonio.
For more information:
--Emily Embury, C. Blohm & Associates, Inc., 608-839-9800, [email protected]
--Denise Jacks, PCI Education, 800-594-4263, ext. 123, [email protected]
--Bob McCullough, APR, 210-495-5888, ext. 1010, [email protected]
SOURCE PCI Education