Saturday, April 30, 2011

From my students...

Me: Ahhh....graduation time is just around the corner. It's an exciting time for seniors, bittersweet for us teachers. I get so proud of my students as they take the leap to the next chapter of their lives (but then I miss them!!). Some of my students go off to a vocational program but most of my students head off to college life.

I know for some of my parents of young children the college dream seems like something that might not happen. It's a tough pill to swallow to hear that your child is "legally blind". But parents (and students), take heart. Being blind does not take away your dreams and aspirations. It just means you have to learn to "see" a new path.

I have two students that I have had a lot of time with graduate this year. One is going off to UConn (and will be a very famous lawyer someday!!) and the other is Leah, my senior going off to Curry College. My side note about Leah is that in every class of students, you find a few students who can be so awesome, that you completely forget that they have a vision impairment. Leah is definitely one of those students. Leah has been one of my older students who has mentored younger students at my programs for almost a year now. My younger, female students love her because she is just so cool. She plays sports, she's funny and she just gets it.

One of the major things I try to work on with my students is their ability to own their vision impairment and not make it their foremost identity. It's a hard thing for them to do. It just is and I know that. I especially think it's difficult for my students with low vision. The ones that "don't look blind". How do they fit in? Well, they do! And I've got a truckload of awesome students that teach me how to teach them. So, I thought I would let them teach you blogland a few things about being blind and being a teenager. I asked Leah to write a little bit about her thoughts on going to college. Enjoy!

Leah: My name is Leah Bourassa, I'm a senior in high school and soon going off to Curry College . College is definitely a new experience both scary and fun at the same time, I cant wait to go yet at the same time I hate to leave .I cant wait to meet a bunch of new people yet at the same time im frightened a little . College is a great way to experience new things and be able to live on your own test your waters. Now in my case I am legally blind which I for one think is pretty cool that's one thing that should be a very interesting part of the college life, telling everyone of my professors and friends may be a challenge yet if you want them to know the real you and help you get through life easier it's better that they know. I've always gone through life telling everyone I have a lazy eye and I'm legally blind some people think its the coolest thing in the worked and others are afraid of it the ones who don't know how to accept it I'm not close friends with yet the others love to be apart of it with me. for the sake of my grades and the bond between my teachers / professors I am willingly telling them if and when I can not see something and its never an issue for them to help make accommodations or have an extra note taker in the room. believe me it helps allot.. Now for getting around campus I never like walking alone anyway's yet for the most part ill walk with friends and if I need to get somewhere ill go up and ask someone that's not an issue I'm a people person. The best part about this is that I wilt be receiving a scholarship by the Governor of Ct himself from the Governors coalition for youth with disability . I am extremely honored and excited that they chose me for this I worked hard to prepare for it. All around I can not wait for the whole experience. I couldn't have ask for a better mentor Robbin Keating to help me archive a higher goal. the more opportunities that come your way grasp them and take advantage because they definitely help in the long run.

Leah Bourassa

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