6th Grade Assembly Raises Disability Awareness

2 06 2017

This afternoon, Marshall Simonds’ 6th Graders attended an assembly on disability awareness. Burlington residents who were differently abled as well as some of their family members spoke to our students about their everyday challenges and stories. Among those who spoke at this assembly were Maura Mazzocca who is legally blind due to complications from diabetes, Joe Stordy who is paralyzed on his left side, MJ Fietze, who uses a hand cycle due to multiple sclerosis, and Kenny Tigges, a quadriplegic man who attended Burlington Publics Schools as a child and currently has children attending our schools.

Each speaker explained how they came to be differently abled,  how it affects them in their everyday lives  and how they use assistive technology to cope with their respective disabilities. They also took the time to explain to our students how dated terms such as “handicapped” and “retarded” are offensive and to refrain from using them to describe those that are differently abled.

Also speaking at this assembly were BHS senior Joshua Carroll and college freshmen Marissa Marciano. Joshua brought along his brother, Caiden, who has Angelman Syndrome, a neuro-genetic disorder which affects speech, balance and development. Five years ago, Joshua created the R-Word Video while he was a student at Marshall Simonds – a video that stresses the harmful effect of derogatory language and dated terminology. The video can be viewed below.

We’d like to thank Maura, Joe, MJ, Kenny, Joshua, Caiden, and Marissa for taking the time to share their stories and experiences with our students!

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