Words. Words can lift us up and they can break our hearts. Words compliment or degrade. Words heal and they hurt. As teachers our words educate and for one of the CES’s alumni simple written words are spreading a strong message and asking the community at large to join the campaign to stop using the R-word.
Seamus Quillinan (the first person shown in the video) graduated from Chapman with a MA in Special Education and Moderate/Severe teaching credential in 2008. He is currently in his seventh year of teaching and is currently teaching at Fremont High School (FHS) in Sunnyvale, CA. His class consists of students with intellectual disabilities who have Down Syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy. He says, “The program is designed to teach students functional academic, social, and vocational skills. The classroom meets a variety of students needs with adapting material using technology and creative supports.” His class also has a Best Buddies club which is a friendship club that pairs individuals with disabilities with same age peers for 1:1 friendship. The club helps support the students social growth by creating friendships.
It was from this Best Buddies club that the idea for the video, FHS – Spread the Word to End the Word, came from. Quillinan says, “The video was inspired by the students in our Best Buddies club on campus… The students were planning a fundraiser to bring awareness to the club and disabilities. Spread the word to end the ‘R’ word day was this past March, 6th. The club’s cabinet had an idea to create a video to promote awareness on campus to show during the fundraiser. The cabinet organized the filming, editing, and publishing of the video to be on our schools webpage.” Quillinan feels that the final product of the video was professional, respectful, and quite moving. He said, “I am so proud of the students in Best Buddies who took the initiative to make people think and create positive change. The idea of the movie was student driven, which is why I think it has an authentic feel.”
Quillinan is an educator who’s goal is to empower students with and without disabilities so that everyone can grow and learn. He says he wants all his students to be integrated into his high school campus and community to promote integration and awareness. He says, “I believe the video we created is a great example of this!” and the CES couldn’t agree more!
Quillinan says of his education here in the CES, “My Chapman education was integral in my success as a special education teacher. I am now in my seventh year as a teacher and every year seems to be more rewarding. I hope that continues! I owe a lot of thanks to Dawn Hunter and Judy Montgomery. Dawn and Judy were both incredible mentors to me!”
Thank you, Seamus, for living the CES motto, “Changing education. Changing the world.” If you would like to learn more about the campaign to stop using the R-Word please visit the website.
Written by Becky Campbell, CES MAE Alum 13′ and CES Administrative Assistant