In late November, Circle of Friends put on its annual disability awareness presentations for freshmen in health classes at San Benito High School. The 40-minute presentations educated students about the most common disabilities and gave personal stories about Life Skills students.
“Our goal is to have every student see the presentation,” said Life Skills teacher Ann Vasquez.
Five years ago, speech therapist Cassandra Guerrero created Circle of Friends and implemented the disability awareness presentations. They began in classes with disabled students but quickly expanded to serve all students. A combination of Circle of Friends members and Life Skills students help to put these presentations together.
Vasquez said she is amazed at the students’ work and how comfortable the Life Skills students have becoming with participating. Circle of Friends officer, senior Luz Elizarraraz, says she chose to participate because she “wanted to open the eyes of the younger kids and have them be aware of our friends with disabilities.”
Elizarraraz, who has been a Circle of Friends member for four years, said “I think they’re important because we’re actually acting to incorporate inclusion in our community.”
In only a short amount of time, the presentations have made a big impact on the SBHS campus. Elizarraraz said that “We can teach important things that other might not know of and possibly change their perception on our friends with disabilities.”