On Tueseday March 24 Colonsay School hosted their annual cake auction and WDSD assembly. Here students, teachers and the public joined to celebrate down syndrome. Principal Andrew Merryweather opened the assembly with these few words,
"Inlusion is a critical part of our school. Inclusion is the first step to take on a journey of Learning for All and that journey is central to our purpose at Colonsay School.
Today, as close to World Down Syndrome Day as possible, we are celebrating the journey we are taking together. While Emmett is the face of Down syndrome in the school, it is his peers that are the face of inclusion. Emmett is included as an equal, whether this means learning at a different pace or needing a little more time and udnerstanding in daily tasks of life. Emmett is seen as a valued member of the class, school, and community.
Inclusion is a bigger issue than our handsome young man. Inclusion means every person getting the support they need when they need it. Everyone has their own challenges and their own strengths.
Yes the jouney to inclusion starts with a mission of Learning for All, but it does not end there. Inclusion is about tearing down walls to build bridges. It is about giving a hand up instead of a hand out, it is about friends walking different paths, but finding a way to walk them together.
Barriers between people come in all shapes and sizes. They are differences in intellect, culture, appearance, ability, race, gender, orientation, and background. While our differences may define our personal struggles, it is our commonalities that define people. In the words of John Kennedy, "Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breath the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal."
Next Emmett's classmates spoke about what they liked about Emmett,
"Emmett is a really good friend because he says "hi" to everyone he sees. He's a fun person to be around and he's very cool and talented."
"Emmett as a friend is very funny! When I'm bored or feeling down he always lightens the mood. Emmett always tells me about the exciting things in his life."
"Emmett as a friend is one of the best things that can happen to you. He makes you laugh, feel good about yourself and most importantly makes you feel welcome."
With kind words, a pleathera of cake and good friends Colonsay was able to make $961 which will be put directly towards sending SDSS self-advoactes and their families to the CDSS conference in Edmonton in May.