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The Power of Education


I was teaching 5- to 7-year-olds who were beginners in school. They had no idea how to write their names, no idea what the alphabet was, didn’t really even know Spanish, or grammar, or anything. I had one student named Ronaldo who was 8 years old but was in my class of 5- to 7- year-olds because he had the cognitive ability of a 4- or 5-year-old. He didn't know how to write his name, he didn't know how to write anything, didn't know what ABC was, nothing. He was really embarrassed-- and you could tell he was embarrassed-- that he didn’t know how to write his name. Whenever we asked the class to write their names on their papers, he would just, like, shrug because he didn't know how to do it. He would have this smirk on his face because that was his way of showing that he was embarrassed- putting a front on. He would say, “I can’t do it; I can’t-- in Spanish, no puedo.” And every day during that month or those few weeks I would show him how to write his name. I would write it at the top of his paper and he would copy it down and all that stuff. And then there was one day towards the middle of the program that he came back from home and he showed me his notebook, and he had written his name. He said, “I did it by myself!” with a huge smile on his face and he showed me he had did it by himself. And later on I spoke with his older siblings and they said “Yeah, Ronaldo has been practicing, like, all day and all night trying to write his name so he could perfect it,” and it was-- it was perfect. Although he learned by just copying, the fact that he practiced it every day until he could write his name is something that has just always stuck with me for a really long time; and through Ronaldo I feel I truly understood just how powerful education is, and just how powerful even, like, being able to write your own name is something to take pride in-- we take advantage of that, I mean, we take that for granted so many times. And ever since then, I’ve been, like, really thinking about what education means and pursuing that even in the future, after I graduate.

Earlier Event: November 10
Connecticut to Massachusetts
Later Event: November 14
Empowerment Through Disability