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Posted February 24, 2015

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Hayes Middle School Students Break Down Barriers

Students in Steve Schripsema’s eighth grade AVID class started a campaign to help the special needs community.

“You, can make a difference!”

That is the basic idea behind the Hayes Middle School AVID 8 campaign to improve and mobilize their community. Students took on the leadership responsibilities for a community action project and selected the special needs community as their focus. 

Their choices were to work on several levels:

  • They volunteered in Mr. Neff’s  ISP class, helping schoolmates learn to use new iPads, supporting them in their reading goals and even helping out in the therapy room.
  • They launched a “Spread the Word to End the ‘R’ Word” pledge campaign at a school assembly and obtained hundreds of signatures on their pledge poster.
  • They sold candy grams and rose grams for Valentine’s Day and held a celebration dance, raising $383 for Special Olympics New Mexico.

Along the way, students grew as leaders and many found they grew as people too. Here are a few of the things they wrote about their experience:

“Something I saw that was eye-opening was people stepping up and telling other people to stop saying the word 'retard.'" --Rosa Ramirez

“My perception changed when I worked with kids with special needs…some kids with special needs don’t need much help.” --Ignacio Martinez

“My expectations weren’t as good in the beginning, but they changed…each day they got higher, because I knew we were going to make a change.” --Perlita Risueno

 “In AVID we are all taking leadership in this campaign.”  --Alejandra Andrade

"Kids should be treated equal and feel wanted. Something we can do to go to the next level is actually going to the NM Special Olympics and helping." --Karla Valdez

 “We can talk to people about ..(how) we are more alike than different.” --Alicia Duarte

 “I started to realize that we were actually taking action on what we were saying we were going to do.” --Savannah Contreras

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