Future Reflections Fall 1989, Vol. 8 No. 3
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[PICTURE] Allen Harris (left) has coached many winning wrestling teams since he was hired in the late sixties by the Dearborn public school system.
The following is reprinted from the August 1989, Braille Monitor. The editor's note is also from the Braille Monitor. For those who do not know, the Monitor Editor is Dr. Kenneth Jernigan and the Associate Editor is Barbara Pierce.
From the Editor: When does a person become mature? At what age does he or she become responsible for helping make the world better, not only for himself or herself but also for others? More to the point (at least, for purposes of this discussion) how old must an individual be to become (in the active, full sense of the word) a Federationist? How about 13? What about 9?
The Associate Editor and I recently received a letter from two students at the Ohio State School for the Blind, which helped me answer the question. I found the letter both delightful and heart-warming. I also found it instructive, for it told me that our message and philosophy are beginning to permeate every segment of the blind population --children, adults, and the elderly; the rich and the poor; the educated and the illiterate. It renewed my faith in the ability of people to act in their own enlightened self-interest and to do it collectively. It underscored something which, at the core of my being, I have never doubted -- that the future of the National Federation of the Blind is going to be all right.
Even now the leaders of the fourth generation are developing and reaching for maturity. They are learning their Federation philosophy at an early age and living it on a daily basis. Read the letter from the students at the Ohio State School for the Blind, and you will see what I mean. Here it is:
Dear Dr. Jernigan and Mrs. Pierce:
Our names are Jason Ewell (age 9) and Mike Leiterman (age 13), and we wish to tell you about our coalition --the student alliance coalition (SAC) at the Ohio State School for the Blind. Our committee grew out of a minor student concern, which was soon put on the back burner for a major issue. Therefore, we are writing to tell you about our efforts over the past year concerning totally blind students being discriminated against as dining room workers.
This policy is unjust because only students with high residual vision have been allowed to hold these positions. Collectively we decided to approach the administrator of residential services to share this concern because she oversees the dining room staff and, if persuaded, could use her authority to aid us.
We shared with her our belief that our school should be a discriminatory-free environment, in which we could learn by trying as many things as we wished to attempt. She appreciated our honesty and position. Likewise, she thought that other students should follow our example here at the OSSB. Dorm council was started. Every two weeks we meet for around an hour or so to discuss issues which arise out of living in a residential setting. The dietitian, who acts as immediate supervisor over the dining room staff, came to one of our meetings and agreed to help by restructuring the hiring policy and developing a more efficient training program for all who wish to apply. Weekends and daily after school have been designated as periods for the training sessions. At this time those interested seem to be satisfied with this new procedure.
We feel glad that we were able to work together to end this problem. Even though this issue really only directly pertains to the totally blind, we felt it necessary that those with residual vision be active participants--because what affects one of us, affects us all.
Jason Ewell and Mike Leiterman
This item is reprinted from the VIPS parents newsletter in Louisville, Kentucky.
The Studio for the Handicapped, in Anchorage, Kentucky, has plenty of experience producing high-quality recordings for blind and handicapped individuals since it used to be affiliated with Recordings for the Blind.
Now the studio is planning to expand its professional recording services to handicapped children. Studio director Sandy Koukola and volunteer Ruth Carmichael have been working with VIPS parents Maury Weedman and Pauletta Feldman to produce entertaining story tapes for their blind son Jamie. It is hoped that project outcomes can be made available to other VIPS children.
Students from the Anchorage Public School, who participate in the school's Navigator program for gifted and talented students, are recording stories that will appeal to preschoolers, featuring rhyme, rhythm, and interesting sound effects. Under the direction of teacher Darla Talbert, students are also working on some original materials to record for children. Currently students are working on the project during school time, but several have signed up to volunteer for the summer. The basic concept of the project is that children reading for other children makes good sense --the young children listening will enjoy the voices of children and relate to them.
If you would like the Studio to record for your child or want to find out more about their services, you can call (502) 245-5422.
Editor's Note: The Albuquerque Public Schools and the Albuquerque Journal (a newspaper) sponsor a yearly contest for the city's school children called "Spotlight on Young Writers." This year over 200 students entered the contest. One of the winners was Jessica Romero Bachicha, a blind second-grade student at Zia Elementary school in Albuquerque. Here is her winning entry as it was published in the Albuquerque Journal Showcase, March 15,1989.
MYSTERY OF THE MISSING SAPPHIRE
by Jessica Romero Bachicha
2-D Level for the Blind
Gail Swiech, teacher
Twuz midnight in the old old house. The bats were flying about and the Mongrats were mourning. When it was lost! The Sapphire that made the witch of Wabes so powerful. Twuz midnight when the morslings gained their power. For they were the ones who found the Sapphire. The wild harpies of the Morslings cackled evilly. But the people and animalls of the witch were very very very outraged. The witch toar her long black hair with outrage and looked through her book of spells for spells to cast on the Morslings. She read this:
Yashne hosh moshne.
So She called to the animalls, "Come to me! We must meet about this." So they went. The witch said to the animalls, "We must do something about getting the Sapphire from the Morslings. Nightingale, what do you think?" "You know how the Morslings are so unpleasant, right, well, I can sing to them. That will hypnotise them into telling us where the Sapphire is." The witch's wild harpies cackled mischievously.
So the next morning the nightingale set out. "Good luck to you!" the witch called after her.
When she got to morslings wood, she hesitated a wile. A wild Morsling harpy stood guarding the path. The nightingale started singing. The harpy was enchanted. She quickly led the nightingale to where the Sapphire lay on the ground. The nightingale snatched it up. "Thank you." she said and flew off.
When the nightingale got back, the witch met her. "I see you have brought back the sapphire." "Yes, I have!" "Good!" the witch said. They were happy forever.
As for the Morslings, the witch put a spell on them so they turned into beautiful statues.