You are here

State Honoree

Justin Gonka


Justin Gonka, 14, of Anchorage, Alaska, an eighth-grader at Central Middle School, has volunteered to support and cheer athletes participating in the Special Olympics for the past five years. When Justin was only eight years old, he watched his uncle volunteer as a Special Olympics coach and asked if he could be involved. He started helping with the bowling team, and then with many other Special Olympics events. “I help the athletes to be successful and it helps me to be a better person,” said Justin, who has also helped to recruit other young people to volunteer. Justin is now helping to prepare for the upcoming Special Olympics World Winter Games, which are being held in Anchorage this spring, by encouraging his school to sponsor two teams from Spain and France. Justin is still too young to be a coach, though he hopes to become one soon. In the meantime, he’ll continue to cheer on the athletes because “it is so nice to make a difference in someone’s life.”