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Pathfinder Student Honored by Colgate University Athletics

Pathfinder's Char Orendorff and Stephanie Fadale receive Appreciation Awards in recognition of the Pathfinder-Colgate athletic partnership

Edmeston, NY, April 28, 2017 … Colgate Athletics honored Pathfinder student J.T. Fadale, Pathfinder parent and Foundation Trustee Stephanie Fadale, and Assistant Enrichment Director Charleen Orendorff at this week’s tenth annual Golden ‘Gates Awards.  The ceremony is an annual event at the storied liberal arts university in Hamilton that honors student-athletes, coaches, and other members of the Colgate Raiders community. 

The Raider of the Year award is presented to the community fan who shows the greatest support and spirit for Colgate athletics.  J.T. Fadale of Hamilton, 17, who practices with the Colgate Women’s Hockey Team, was presented the award through his ongoing involvement with the women’s hockey and basketball teams, and the men’s soccer team.  A non-verbal person with Down syndrome and autism, J.T. is active in Special Olympics and attends Pathfinder School in Edmeston as a day student.  As part of the presentation, he also was featured in a moving video presentation before an audience of over 600 at the university’s Cotterell Court.

Stephanie Fadale explained that two hockey players, Hannah Rastrick ’17 and Shelby Perry ’18, have been team leaders in developing a special rapport with her son, relying on non-verbal communications to coach him while skating.  “Above all, he really loves this team.  He loves that they think he’s important and that they feel a connection with him.  It’s something words can’t explain, because the words aren’t there to explain. There are gestures, there are symbols, there are friendships that aren’t on a language level,” said Mrs. Fadale.

That evening, Pathfinder Chief Executive Officer Paul Landers presented Vicky Chun, Colgate’s vice president & director of Athletics, with a painting by Village artist Anja Eriksen.  Mr. Landers led the audience in reciting the Special Olympic oath, and thanked the Colgate community for their involvement at Pathfinder, and for making a difference in the lives of persons with intellectual disabilities. He personally thanked six Colgate sports teams and challenged other teams and campus organizations to become familiar with Pathfinder to “have their own J.T. experience.”

Mr. Landers added, “Because Colgate sets the bar so high for its scholar athletes, you are being groomed to be the next leaders in your communities.  Someone in this gymnasium tonight will be the next leader who promotes the rights and opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities.”  He went on to thank the Fadale Family for their role in forging the Pathfinder-Colgate athletic partnership, and to recognize other Pathfinder athletes in attendance, Lloyd Patterson, Andrew Hyman, and Tom and Chris Hogan.

Mrs. Fadale and Pathfinder’s Assistant Director of Enrichment Programs Charleen Orendorff, Edmeston, also were presented with the university’s John LeFevre ’41 Appreciation Awardsfor their support of the Colgate-Pathfinder partnership over the past several years.  Mrs. Fadale is an active volunteer for collegiate and Special Olympics events and a member of Pathfinder Village’s Foundation Board.  Mrs. Orendorff has been a team coach and district volunteer for Special Olympics for over 25 years.

The LeFevre Appreciation Awards are presented to those who are not officially affiliated with the university but who have made meaningful contributions to Colgate athletics.  The awards are named in honor of the late John LeFevre ’41, (1919-2016), who lettered for the hockey team, and who served Colgate as a special assistant for Admissions and volunteer for 35 years.

Pathfinder Village is an internationally respected open-access community in upstate New York, and was founded in 1980 to provide people living with Down syndrome and other disabilities an independent and fulfilling lifestyle. As it works to provide quality supports for older individuals living with ID, the Village also offers highly successful educational, pre-vocational and outreach programs.  To learn more, visit, or visit our fan page on the popular social networking site, Facebook.

Videos of the awards presentations may be found at:

JTandHRastrick.JPG   Fadale_Carter_Orendorff.jpg

“Pathfinder Village helps people find their
way in life to independence, success, and
maturity — all the things you want for your family.”
Marian Mullet | Founder of Pathfinder Village