Every Friday

October 3, 2012
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My friend Haley and I are walking down the hall of our old school. We are in second grade, and we are about to do something that will change our lives forever. We are going to a place that is unknown to the majority of the student population. She tells me not to worry. Her brother did this a lot when he went to this school. The next thing I know we are standing by the door of the ILC classroom, a class for kids with disabilities, or special needs. Haley opens the door and goes in. I follow her. We are immediately welcomed by smiling faces and one girl even hives us hugs. A boy near the back of the classroom claps. We introduce ourselves to the teachers. By the time we have finished reading our books to the class, recess is over. The teachers tell us to comeback whenever we want. So we do. We come back every Friday.
During that first year, all Haley and I do is read to the class but we still love going. After about two weeks of missing first recess on Fridays our other friends ask where we had been. When we tell them some are shocked, others wonder why. They think it would be boring or scary. I told them that I thought it would be scary too, but it wasn’t. Everyone in the class is so nice, even the teachers. That week around eight of us go to read. Next week it’s four, then three, and then finally it’s just me and Haley.
During the second year the teacher had a baby. She decided to stay home with it. The new teacher took a little getting used to. She let us play with the students, or help them with their assignments, or help them with puzzles. The third year was the same. It was during the third year that a boy in my class drew devil horns and a beard on a picture of a girl in the ILC class. I had known this girl for a really long time. Her nanny was friends with my grandma. I was so upset to hear that he was making fun of her. When I told my mom, she said that sometimes people are mean to make themselves feel better. Then I understood. Sometimes other kids in my class sometimes gave him a hard time.
That was also the year that the students really started connecting to Haley and me. Monica, Luz, and Le’an were always the most happy to see us. They had all been there the longest, and remembered us best. They told us when someone was mean to them or when something good happened. No matter what they were always happy. I loved walking into their class room and seeing them smile. That made me happy. They never let their disabilities set them back.
In sixth grade Haley and I brought friends again. These friends cared about the kids. There were new kids in the class too. Jazzy, Dejaneak, and Srinath were only a few. Jazzy became like Monica and Luz. She was almost like a sister to me. I didn’t want to leave her and the others at the end of the year. I wanted to still come back every Friday.
Sixth grade was also the year that my friend Sasha had an aneurism. Sasha has a very mild form of Cerebral Palsy. It makes it hard for her to walk or run and occasionally causes seizures or speech problems. When she had her aneurism, she had a really bad seizure. She was in the hospital for a few weeks; in a sort of half coma. No body knew how much she would recover. It was really scary. No one knew what would happen. But eventually she woke up. She started to recover and now is as good as new.
At the end of sixth grade I had to leave. I had no choice. Even though I was leaving them, I still had the memories and lessons of every Friday. I still had the things they taught me. To be myself, not to judge, don’t let anything set you back. But most of all they taught me that people with special needs or disabilities are just like everyone else, and just like everyone else they are a little different. They also helped me to realize that some people may say that they are your friends, but they aren’t. Some people are mean. Seeing their smiling faces is one of the parts that I miss most about elementary school. But I am thankful for the great experience, and the things I learned every Friday.

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