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    • #24553
      DeAnn R

      Our 31 Days of SMA is well underway.  We’ve highlighted fabulous stories from individuals who have a personal connection to SMA and we have more great features to come.  Last weekend on we looked at two unique perspectives on education.  Janna Leach knew early on she wanted to be a teacher and she made it happen.  Not only has she taught in a school setting, she also has experience with online tutoring.  I’m guessing these services will be quite popular with the need for continued social distancing.  Education wasn’t at the top of the list for Sory Rivera growing up, but now that she’s thirty she sees the value in it.   So much so that she’s pursuing a Public Relations degree.  Of course there are challenges, but I’m confident she can accomplish her goals. Was education a priority for you?

    • #24565
      Tracy Odell

      I, too, studied to be a teacher – planning to teach English and art.

      After being grilled by the Dean of special education, I was able to help them see the different ways I could work with students by using an overhead projector, having students write on the blackboard, rearranging desks so that I could get to each student at their seats, and also deal with students’ questions if I was sitting at my desk. I was able to show that I could lead a class out the door in a fire or drill in my motorized wheelchair to get them to safety. I was admitted to the Faculty of Education with the blessing of the Dean.

      One year my timetable was such that the only additional course that would fit in happened to be Special Education. I definitely did not want to be a special education teacher because I had been forced to go to a segregated school for kids with disabilities that was attached to an institution for the same group of kids. I did not feel special education was “special” or “educational”. I did not want to be part of keeping that engine running. However, I decided to take the course anyways knowing that I could always drop it if I hated it.

      As it turned out, the Special Education course was led by a professor who was a strong advocate for full integration! This contact launched my entire career. On her recommendation, I was hired to work at a private college running adult literacy programs for people with disabilities, people on social assistance and people in jail. This qualified me a few years later to work in government when they were setting up adult literacy programs and wanted to ensure they include marginalized groups. I worked my way up in government to a management position and eventually to a director position responsible for accessibility, inclusion and anti-racism in one government ministry.

      Now, I’m retired and get to do advocacy related to accessibility for people with every type of disability. It was a great road for me!

    • #24569
      Alyssa Silva

      Education was definitely a priority for me. But I wish I hadn’t gone straight to college out of high school. For starters, I had NO Idea what I wanted to do at 17!! But, it’s what all my peers around me were doing, so I followed suit. I also picked a college based on my accessibility requirements and not what I had interest in academically. I didn’t really even know what my interests were back then. Don’t get me wrong, college definitely prepped me for the real world and gave me a great education. I loved my school. But it was a university known for business majors, and being a business major wasn’t my first choice. But here I am 7 years later with a business degree in marketing and not exactly using it in my line of work haha. I do believe that everything happened for a reason for me, but I think Sory made a great decision to wait to get her education! I’m not in my 30’s yet, but I’m close enough to the decade to say I have a much better grasp on what I want to do with my life than I did even 5 years ago.

    • #24579
      DeAnn R

      Great story Tracy! I love how you turned a negative into a positive. It sounds like education led you down a great path.

      Alyssa, I too chose accessibility over academic interests and ended up with a business management degree. I wanted to go into meteorology. Even attempted to transfer but I couldn’t line up housing and attendant care simultaneously so it didn’t work out.

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