Categorized | Features

Better Together

By: Hannah Lam

“It is a great way to have all of the students, including the younger ones understanding the differences between people. It also helps them understand that no matter the difference, everyone should be treated fairly and the same,” said Alyssa Fiammetta, a sophomore at Waynesboro High School who was in attendance with her mom who is a secretary at Wenonah Elementary School.

Wenonah Elementary School hosted their second annual Inclusion Day on October 25, 2018.  On Inclusion Day, students of Wenonah had 8 rotations where they learned about a variety of different learning disabilities. This year the school was able to do more to educate the community because they received a $2,500 grant from the school district. The school had many organizations contributing including Camp Light, Overcoming Barriers, Moms in Motion, Area 5 Special Olympics, Shenandoah LGBTQ Center and many more.

That night, parents, students, and the community were encouraged to come back to Wenonah to learn more about the organizations in attendance. Inclusion Night had many people you could talk to and get to know. Emily Sproul, a volunteer at the Shenandoah LGBTQ Center said that Wenonah reached out to them before Staunton Pride and asked them to be there.  

“Our mission is to support the local LGBTQ community. We welcome everyone to come get to know us,” said Sproul.

In the Wenonah library on Inclusion Night, Tammy and Alan Cale, coordinators of the Area 5 Special Olympics team in Augusta County, had a station. The Special Olympics is a nonprofit organization that serves athletes with an ID, a significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period. They also serve athletes with many other types of disabilities. Area 5 Special Olympics has 157 athletes on their roster, but only 130 are active in sports in the Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County area. They offer 14 seasonal sports, meaning they play sports all year round.  The Area 5 Special Olympics is the only Special Olympics team in Virginia that has a choir and cheer-leading team. No athlete ever pays for anything.

“We will do flips in the street to pay for it,”  said Alan Cale.

At the end of Inclusion Night some of the players from of the Charlottesville Cardinals spoke about their organization and what they saw while spending the day with the Wenonah students. To close the night, Wenonah students sang two songs in honor of Inclusion Day.  The students sent the message that everyone should remember that “together we are better.”

Photos by: Alyssa Fiammetta


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