Special Olympics athlete organizes Respect Rally in Simms

Posted at 4:46 PM, May 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 15:00:39-04

SIMMS – The Sun River Valley School District held a Respect Rally on Wednesday, aiming to “Spread the word to end the word,” an ongoing effort by the Special Olympics and other groups.

Simms student Nikole “Nelly” Brevik, a junior and Special Olympic athlete, organized Wednesday’s event. Respect Rallies are held across the entire country, including others in Montana, in an effort to help people understand the hurtful effects of the “R-word” (retard/ed) and to eliminate its usage.

Brevik says it’s a campaign dear to her heart.

“The reason why we spread the message to end the R-word is because disability people don’t like that word,” she said.

Students, teachers and officials in the Sun River Valley School District joined Brevik’s efforts on Wednesday, pledging to replace the R-word with “respect.” Special Olympics and Best Buddies International, along with 200 other organizations around the world, state that “the campaign promotes the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities and promotes a new R-word…RESPECT.”

Brevik, who moved to Montana from Alaska in 2015, has been an active Special Olympics athlete, competing with her friends and teammates on the Great Falls Lions. Brevik was a member of the 2017-2018 State Youth Activation Committee.

The Special Olympics skier and swimmer says seeing friends, classmates and teachers join the rally on Wednesday was a powerful moment, particularly when they gathered in the school’s gymnasium chanting ‘Respect.’

“Yeah, that was a lot of fun,” Brevik said.

For more information on the R-word campaign, “Spread the word to end the word,” please click here.

Reporting by Richie Melby for MTN News

Respect Rally at Simms! Nelly Brevik (Junior at Simms and Special Olympics Athlete) hosted a pledge sign up for anyone in the schoolhouse today. Students & Faculty signed up to replace the “R” word with RESPECT! Simms School is proud to partner with Montana Special Olympics as we rally together to spread this positive message! Good job Nelly, we are proud of you! Go Tigers Roar On! (Video of Rally)

Posted by Sun River Valley School District on Wednesday, May 9, 2018