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2023 South Dakota Council for Exceptional Children “Yes I Can” Award Information

2023 South Dakota Council for Exceptional Children
“Yes I Can” Award Information

Overview and Purpose

As a unit of CEC, the South Dakota Council for Exceptional Children advocates, celebrates and helps to advance the success of children with exceptionalities.

The “Yes I Can” awards program honors and celebrates the achievements of children and youth (ages 2-21) with exceptionalities. The primary purpose of this award is to encourage individuals to seek their highest potential. The secondary goal is to increase public awareness of the abilities, aspirations, and personal qualities of those with exceptionalities.

In addition to being recognized and applauded for their efforts, each Yes I Can Award recipient will:

  • Be recognized at the SDCEC Summer Institute
  • Receive a “Yes I Can” Award Certificate and a letter of congratulations from the SDCEC President
  • Have their nomination submitted to the National CEC award review committee
  • May be called upon to share his / her story to promote the “Yes I Can!” Awards Program and to generally advocate for children and youth with disabilities

Eligibility Requirements

Candidates must be 2–21 years of age when they are nominated

The nominee must have an identified disability

Past “Yes I Can” Award recipients are not eligible for re-nomination for the same category

Nominations must be received by April 15

Eligible Nomination Categories (Individuals may be nominated for one area only)

ACADEMICS: Achievement in a particular subject area such as math, science, reading, social studies, language arts, or foreign language; overall academic achievement; or a high level of achievement on standardized tests.

  • ARTS: Achievement in a particular medium such as music, art, drama, dance, or written expression.
  • SCHOOL & COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Achievement in organized activities at the school or community level through groups such as school-based clubs/activities (yearbook, theater, debate, tutoring, peer mentoring, social, service) or community-based clubs/activities (volunteer work, Boy/Girl Scouts, places of worship, service, cleanup campaigns).
  • SELF-ADVOCACY: Achievement in assuming practical responsibility for oneself, using knowledge of legal rights, advancing one’s goals, or effectively obtaining appropriate accommodations for oneself or others.
  • TECHNOLOGY: Achievement through the use of assistive and adaptive technology devices and equipment (computerized or otherwise).
  • TRANSITION: Achievement in mastering activities that leads to successful experiences in the areas of work, vocational training, or independent living.

How to Complete and Submit the Nomination Form

The nomination form is divided into three (3) sections:

  • Section A: Nomination Information
  • Section B: Statement of Achievement
  • Section C: Video Documentation

Please note that if the nominee is selected as a recipient, the responses to the information provided on the nomination form may be used by SDCEC for the awards and publicity purposes.

Who Can Nominate a Child/Youth?

Nominations may be submitted by anyone (including: the nominee themselves, teachers, principals, related service providers, friends, and parents).

Other Important Information 

Each candidate may be nominated in only one category

Nominations may be submitted electronically via the online form, e-mailed attachment of the downloadable form, or by mail

All nomination materials (including supporting documentation) must be submitted together

All materials submitted become the property of the SDCEC and will not be returned

Each candidate must be nominated by one individual (e.g., teacher, principal, related service provider, friend, parent). The nominator does not need to be a CEC member

All nominations and recipients will be notified by July 1st of the committee’s decision via email to the nominator

Award Selection Considerations

The Selection Committee looks at not only the student’s achievements but also the severity of the student’s disability in relation to his or her achievements.

In the event of a tie, additional weight will be given to the nominee from a CEC member or unit.

For additional information, contact Michelle Powers at, SDCEC Past President.

Thank you for nominating a child/youth to receive the 2023 SDCEC “Yes I Can!” Award.

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