Wednesday, March 26, 2014

“Third Time's A Charm"- A Story of Success through Perseverance"

L to R: Janet Stoop, Lisa Nichols, Amanda Green, Kayla Constable

“Third Time’s a Charm!” This is an old familiar saying but most people misinterpret it’s  meaning to believe  that if you repeat an action to achieve desired results,  odds will be that whatever you were trying to do or achieve will magically happen on at least the 3rd try. But what this quote is trying to convey is that by practice, perseverance, and never giving up you will achieve your goal- eventually! Don’t give up, keep on-keeping on!
A young lady, Amanda Green is a living example of success after perseverance. One of her longstanding goals was to obtain her General Education Diploma (GED). In the past 2 years she has really focused on her goal by attending Tuesday night classes held at Townsend Elementary School library and then by working 4 hours each day during the week with Kayla Constable, her primary Life Coach at The Arc of Delaware County. Twice she did not pass the exam. She was very disappointed and shared, “When I said I wanted to quit, Lisa Nichols (a lead Life Coach at The Arc) said “We don’t give up here, I don’t let my kids give up and I’m not letting you give up.” That was that, she turned her back and walked away and I started studying again.”
When asked what her hardest subjects were, “Quadratic equations!” she exclaimed. “But now I have them down pat.  Also, writing countless essays was hard too. I had thought I could write about whatever I wanted to and it was hard to write about something I was told to write about (a topic not of her choice).”
After taking the GED exam for the 3rd time, Amanda would occasionally log on to their website to see if the grades were posted. When she logged on Feb. 20th she saw a message that indicated “diploma sent”.  Stunned and unsure what the message really meant, she ran down the hall to show Janet Stoop, the Life Coach who had taken her  to her Tuesday night GED Classes. Janet confirmed to her that it was true, she passed!  Amanda shared that she burst into tears of happiness as did her mother when Amanda shared the good news with her.
When asked what she would say to others thinking about or currently working on their GED, she replied,” The hardest part is doing it every day, trying to schedule time to fit it in. It’s hard, but don’t give up! It is WORTH IT!”

With GED in hand,  Amanda has her sights set on accomplishing her dream of becoming a Teacher’s Aide.  With her determination and discipline there is no doubt that her dreams will become reality.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Celebrating National Developmental Disability Awareness Month through Recognizing “Everybody Can”

March is National Developmental Disability Awareness Month.  There is no time more fitting to celebrate all that local students have learned about developmental and other disabilities as a result of their participation in the “Everybody Can” contest hosted by The Arc of Delaware County  and Delta Kappa Gamma.
 “The goal of this contest is to raise awareness and understanding of intellectual and developmental disabilities and to instill acceptance of differences at a young age, very similar to the goals of National Developmental Disability Awareness Month but on a smaller scale”, “states Catherine Tweedie, Director of Community Relations at The Arc of Delaware County, “From the entries submitted, it was apparent that students had fun while learning about people and how they didn’t let disabilities stand in the way of their accomplishments!”

This year’s contest had a bit of twist, challenging students to research famous people who had disabilities and, through their project,  demonstrate their knowledge of the disability and the accomplishments of the famous person(s) they selected.  A variety of very creative submissions were received from Delaware County students in grades K-8 in the categories of art, media, and literature.

The Arc of Delaware County and Delta Kappa Gamma enjoyed reviewing all the entries, are pleased to announce the following winners of the 4th annual “Everybody Can” contest.

Countywide winners:

Art: Alexis Redden, Michaela Valkavich, 7th Graders from Andes Central School for their mobile that portrayed famous people who had a variety of disabilities including Down’s syndrome, being blind, deaf, or loss of the use of their limbs.  The artistic elements of the project included photos and short biographies which were incorporated into a mobile with an overall film/movie star motif.
Media: Haley Kosier, 5th Grader from South Kortright Central School for her PowerPoint, “Never Say Never” which highlighted the accomplishments of former president Franklin D. Roosevelt, Stevie Wonder, and Helen Keller.
Literature: Nancy Gavett’s 5th grade class from Townsend Elementary School in Walton compiled a book with photos and stories, which was illustrated with pictures of their artistic character interpretations portraying 21 famous people who through their researched, they learned each had some type of disability, including Einstein, David Beckham, Tom Cruise, Whoopi Goldberg and many others.

Honorable Mention:

Art: Joanna Grommeek, Jordan Finch, and Morgan Hungerford, from South Kortright Central School created a life-size poster about Bella Thorne and dyslexia.
Media: George Haynes and Gavyn Bryant from  South Kortright Central School created a PowerPoint entitled “Never Give Up”.

A  Teachers Choice Award selected for a uniquely creative book about baseball player James Anthony Abbott; this project was designed and produced by Joey Shafer, Joe Ploutz, Aydyn Tweedie from South Kortright Central School.

Participating schools are to be commended for their support of this contest and in creating “Ambassadors of Change” – students who appreciate the abilities of all people and embrace the belief that when given the opportunity, everybody can!

To view the winning entries, visit and click on the news story, “Everybody Can- Goes Famous”.