Portrait of the Whole Person: Paintings and Biographies

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Presented by Bertschi School Fourth Grade Class of 2014

in Partnership with Disability Rights Washington

April 23 – May 16, 2014

Bertschi School, in partnership with Disability Rights Washington, presents Portrait of the Whole Person: Paintings and Biographies, to celebrate disability history and culture. Through the art show, we hope to heighten awareness of the disability rights movement and culture within the broader community.

Painting of Alicia Alonso

Alicia Alonso

Disability Rights Washington, a private non-profit organization protecting the rights of people with disabilities in Washington State, developed the concept and curriculum, taught disability history and culture to the students, and facilitated the art. Bertschi Fourth Grade teachers, Peter James and Robin Cheyney, guided the students in researching and creating biographies about individuals with disabilities, both historic and current. Maria Grade, the Bertschi School art teacher, instructed each child on portraiture and facilitated the presentation of the show.

The Portrait of the Whole Person project provides an integrated approach to teaching youth to: perceive disability as a reflection of societal views of differences; treat people with disabilities with respect and dignity; and understand how disability rights fit into the broader civil rights movement. Additionally, this project contains an anti-bullying and self-confidence component.

Washington recognizes the importance of educating youth about disability history through its enactment of a state law establishing October as Disability History Awareness Month. This Act requires each public school to conduct or promote educational activities that provide instruction, awareness, and understanding of disability history and people with disabilities. By educating youth, we can ameliorate negative stereotypes and perceptions that can easily lead to exclusion, bullying, low-self esteem, and discrimination. Perceptions of disability should include concepts of dignity, liberty, autonomy, and strength instead of fear, pity, weakness and paternalism or maternalism.

You can learn more about this project, and Disability Rights Washington on the DRW website and at 206-324-1521 ext. 206. You can learn more information about Bertschi School by visiting the Bertschi website.


Muhammad Ali (January 17, 1942 – present , Age 72) by Aaron

painting of Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, the hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see- Muhammad Ali.

This quote is about his speed in boxing.  Muhammad Ali is not usually known as a person with a disability, rather he is known as one of the best boxers ever.  His nickname was “The Greatest.”

Many people have no idea that Muhammad Ali had a disability, instead he is known as one of the best boxers ever.  Muhammad Ali was born with dyslexia, and diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease later in life.  Many people believe that he unfortunately got Parkinson’s disease from boxing.  All the blows to the head Ali took during his boxing career probably was the cause.

Muhammad Ali had a disability, but he spent a lot of time “fighting” through it, and doing the things he loved.  Still, in my mind Muhammad Ali is not a disabled person, he is a person with a disability. It is important to remember to put the person first, and then the disability, because everyone is a person who deserves respect.

Lewis Carroll (1832 to 1898) by Addie

Painting of Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll by Addie

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

Lewis Carroll (real name is Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) is an amazing writer. He wrote The Hunting of the Snark, Jabberwocky, and his most famous story, Alice in Wonderland. Something interesting that many people don’t know about Lewis Carroll is that he had Migraines and Epilepsy.Lewis Carroll was diagnosed by three different doctors after he blacked out twice. The three doctors told Lewis that he had Epilepsy. Many authors, practically Sadie Ranson, had suggested that Lewis Carroll had “suffered” from temporal lobe epilepsy, a condition where consciousness is not completely lost. Carroll had one incident, where he lost consciousness and then woke up with a bloody nose, which he recorded in his journal. He wrote that it left him feeling not like himself for quite some time afterward.

Parents and children alike admire Lewis Carroll. He created a timeless adventure about Alice in Wonderland. He did this while experiencing terrible migraines and epilepsy. He wasn’t pitied for his disability. He was admired for art. As a society we need to remember that they are not just a disability, they are a person first. Lewis Carroll inspired me to keep writing no matter what. It is important to help make disabilities less of a disability and to realize that under all of our differences we are all people.

Curt Marsh (1959 – Present age 55) by Alec

Painting of Curt Marsh

Curt Marsh

Curt thought he could feel the hard, cold metal bar with both feet. But when he looked down, he did not have his right foot. Curt Marsh was an Oakland Raiders player and was drafted 23rd overall in the 1981 NFL draft. Marsh also won the Super Bowl in the same year.Curt has an amputated foot, which means doctors removed his foot. He was not born with this. Curt broke his ankle in a training camp and his doctor said it was just a strain. They did not even x-ray him. They just assumed that it was nothing serious. However, it caused him to leave the NFL early and lose his right foot. I think the coaches did not x-ray him because they needed him on the field. If they had x-rayed him there was a chance that it would be bad and he could not play.

Professional athletes need their limbs to work well to be successful. Curt had an injured foot when his team won the Super Bowl! It took determination and self-discipline to continue to play with an injured foot. Now, Curt Marsh is a motivational speaker and educator. In Curt’s speeches he talks about how sports bring us together. One example of this is when he talks about fighting with his dad. Then they would watch a football or basketball game and forget about their fight. Marsh inspires me because he was in the Super Bowl in pain because of his amputated foot. He was determined to win even with his disability.

Michael Phelps (1985- Present) by Anders

Painting of Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps got more Olympic medals than anyone in the world. Michael Phelps got 22 medals in the Olympics more than anyone else. Michael Phelps has A.D.H.D, which make it harder to focus and also means being over hyper. He was born with it. When he was younger his teacher said to his mom he could never focus. I think she was wrong. I think it might have caused him not to go to his swim practice as much. I think it might have helped him win a race or two because it gives you more energy and when you’re more hyper you get a little stronger than normal.We can make this less of a disability by making better medication that doesn’t have down sides. One down side is not being as hungry. He inspired young kids with disabilities to follow their dreams, which is a good thing. This person inspired me to complete my goals because he got more gold medal than in one else in the Olympics. My thinking has changed about Michael Phelps because I never knew that Michael Phelps had a disability. I hope you enjoyed my report on Michael Phelps.

Marlee Matlin (1965-Present) by Anika S.

Painting of Marlee Matlin

Marlee Matlin

Marlee Matlin is a famous actor. She was born in Morton Grove, Illinois. She is a strong leader. She is determined. She is interesting because… well, read on to find out. Sadly, Marlee is deaf. She was only 18 months old when she had an illness, which destroyed all hearing in her right ear and 80 percent of the hearing in her left ear. Marlee was determined to overcome her disability. She started acting when she was 6 years old. She managed to somehow act in a play when she was 7. In spite of not hearing she was strong and managed to find a way around her disability. Marlee finally found something that would help her. She could act in plays that needed deaf characters. Since the director couldn’t find anyone good enough, he said that he needed someone actually deaf. Marlee was perfect for the part. After that she became famous for her excellent acting. Everyone wanted her to be in movies. Marlee even won an Academy Award for best actress. She also played a hearing person in some movies.So as you can see she was really a strong and determined leader by not giving up when she was disabled. She tried with all her might to become normal and she succeeded. She shows us too not give up no matter what. We should treat everybody the same even if they have a disability. We shouldn’t help them if they don’t want us to help. We should let them learn on their own. I think Marlee Matlin teaches that you have to be determined and strong no matter what. I chose her because she is an actor and I love acting. I used to think people with disabilities were weak and shy. Now I realize not all people with disabilities are like that. Now I know that people with disabilities can use their disabilities to help them achieve goals. Marlee taught me that you can achieve anything.

Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827) by Annika W.

Painting of Ludwig Van Beethoven

Ludwig Van Beethoven

I’m betting you know who Beethoven is. He’s a famous composer who was alive around the 1700s. Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany. He had two brothers: Caspar, who was born in 1774 and Johann, who was born in 1776. As many people know, Beethoven loved music. But he didn’t as much when he was a child. His father taught him piano and he beat him for every hesitation or mistake!He became deaf when he was an adult. But he had mild dyslexia when he was a kid so he struggled in school. He didn’t go to college but instead went to study with Mozart. His mom got sick while he was working with Mozart, so he travelled back home. His mom died a few months later. While he was away Mozart had died so he went to study with Haydn. Then he became a composer.

Some of his many songs were: Opus 1, Symphony no. 1, Six String Quartets, The Creatures of Prometheus, and the 9th Symphony which includes Ode to Joy. He also composed the first Piano concerto in C major. In later life he became deaf. Now you’re thinking okay, now he stopped, he’s a composer he needs his ears! But you’re wrong. Actually, when he became deaf he composed the most songs. He wrote songs without listening to them! That’s amazing! He bulldozed through being deaf and wrote the most songs in his life. An opera, 6 symphonies, 4 solo concerti, 5 string quartets, 6 string sonatas, 7 piano sonatas, 5 sets of piano variations, 4 overtures, 4 trios, 2 sextets, and 72 songs!!!

All in all I think Beethoven is very courageous and accomplished a lot. I think he was very determined to plow through music even though he was deaf and that would be really hard. He made me think that even if I am bad at something, I can practice and accomplish a lot. On the good side of him, I learned that he wrote way more songs than I thought he did, on the bad side, I learned that he had a very bad temper. He was very fun to learn about!

Tim Howard (1979-Present) by Ben

Painting of Tim Howard

Tim Howard

Tim Howard has the disability of Tourette’s Syndrome. He is famous because he is one of the best pro-soccer goalies in the world he plays with the U.S. National Team and Everton F.C. Tim was born in a small town in New Jersey. His parents were Esther Howard and Matthew Howard and his brother Chris Howard.

Tim Howard has a disability called Tourette’s Syndrome. It is a disability were tics get on your face and there are two types. Face tics and vocal tics. What they do to is make it so your expression is different from what it should be and it makes you say things that you don’t mean to say and say words that are mean and have too much detail. He was not diagnosed when he was born, he was diagnosed when he was in sixth grade.

Tim Howard has overcome many things like when he plays soccer he gets blamed a lot when he gives up goals or does something wrong, and he doesn’t get really angry and the ticks start acting up. Also he has made it on to the US National team and that is hard. One way we could make Tourette Syndrome less of a problem is get them help and treatments.

Tim Howard inspires me because I like soccer and he has made it fun for him instead of a challenge and it helps me to do that too.

Judi Chamberlin (October 30, 1944 – January 16, 2010) by Charlie

Painting of Judi Chamberlain

Judi Chamberlain

Judi Chamberlin, born October 30, 1944 and died January 16, 2010 from COPD which is a type of obstructive lung disease characterized by chronically poor airflow. It typically worsens over time. The main symptoms include shortness of breath and cough. She was an American public speaker and educator in the psychiatric survivors’ movement. She is known for being an international activist and author of Our Own: Patient Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System.In 1966, at the age of 21 she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was extremely stressed because she had had a miscarriage. I think that her disability is related to her success because if she didn’t have her disability she probably wouldn’t have stood up for people with differently abled bodies and she would not have written her amazing book.

She taught me that a disability could be an opportunity to tell the world that people that are differently abled are people first. As a society we can look at them as a person first who has a differently abled body.

If you have a disability or look different or act different it does not make you a person that is weird, lame, a spaz or retarded. The most important thing in life is to respect every person. We are all different and no one is the same as you. The most important thing is to focus on the person not the disability.

Ludwig Van Beethoven (December 16, 1770- March 26, 1827) by Charlotte

Painting of Ludwig Van Beethoven

Ludwig Van Beethoven

A deaf composer. It seems like a joke, right? But it’s true. Ludwig Van Beethoven, who was one of the greatest composers who ever lived, did lack what many may think to be his most important sense, his hearing. Even so, he continued to compose and conduct even after becoming fully deaf.

Beethoven is thought to have become deaf because he had Otosclerosis, or abnormal bone growth in the ear. He was fully deaf by the time he wrote his ninth and most famous symphony, Ode to Joy. His beautiful music is heard more often than we may realize. Next time you hear one of his pieces, think about it. Isn’t it amazing what this man did?

Beethoven was an amazing man and an inspiration for many others, including me. One thing we can all learn from him is this: Don’t let little things stop you. I learned a lot and had fun writing this. I hope you did reading it. Thanks!

Tim Howard (1979- Present age 35) by Dalton

Painting of Tim Howard

Tim Howard

One doesn’t often think that amazing goalies would have a major disability. Tim Howard has a disability called Tourette Syndrome. Tim Howard is an amazing goalie he played and still plays for major teams in the USA and in England where he plays now.

Tim Howard was born in New Jersey on March 6, 1979. His parents are Esther and Matthew Howard. Tim Howard played goalie for Manchester United (England). He plays for two teams now, Everton (England) and the USA national. He is their main goalie. Tim Howard was sadly diagnosed with Tourette syndrome when he was in 6th grade where he was taunted, teased and called names like retarded. Tim Howard wasn’t always a goalie. In high school he was a very good midfielder than when he got more into the sport he started to really like being a goalie. Tim Howard has coached children and other goalies. As a society, we can make Tourette syndrome less of a disability by seeing the person first not the symptoms of the disability.

Tim Howard inspired me to not let frustration or anger take over and consume the day, and to let no obstacle stand in your way. I was lucky enough to have watched Tim Howard play soccer since I was a little kid. I never knew that he had a disability. Tim Howard has been a great success with all the teams he has played for. He won four league titles with Manchester, and was given the Golden Glove (best goalie of the year award) three times. Now, Tim Howard is one of the most decorated and most well-known goalkeepers in the world.

Astonishing Michael J Fox (1961-Present) by Duncan

Painting of Michael J Fox

Michael J Fox

Michael J Fox went through some really hard times. When he was 18 when his career was going south and he had to live off of macaroni. He’s still alive he was born in 1961 and now he is 53. He was born in Edmonton, Canada and has moved around his whole life.

Michael J Fox got Parkinson’s in 1991. In 1998 he told the public. Some took it seriously and judged him but others didn’t make a big deal of it. Parkinson’s makes everything you do slower and you’re unstable and might fall at any time. But Michael J Fox stuck through it. He was a great man and we all can learn a thing or two from him.

Michael J Fox made his life turn around. He turned his disability around even though he was slower. It didn’t stop him. He kept on acting and acted in movies and TV shows we know like Stuart Little. Many others have had Parkinson’s too and have led very successful lives. Michael J Fox made an impact on all of us and many others did to. They showed us you don’t have to have a terrible life if you have a disability. You can have a great life.

Fannie Flagg (1944-Present) by Eleanor

Painting of Fannie Flagg

Fannie Flagg

Fannie Flagg has accomplished so many things in her life. She is well known for writing the book “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café.” She is also an actress, and the hosted of a TV show called: Match Games. Flagg is from Birmingham AL. where she had wished she could become a writer. It is so amazing she chose to do these things because it was so hard for her.

Flagg’s disability is dyslexia, which makes it hard to read because the letters mix up on the page. Flagg was born with dyslexia, but knew she had it when she was about three. When she turned six she knew she wanted to become a writer. It became really hard for her to read and write when she was about twenty years old because of her joining a writing club. That club didn’t help her until she read her story out in front of the class and overcame her fear. But that did not stop her from pursuing her dream to become a writer. In fact she did not just become a writer she became many more things.

Fannie Flagg has showed us you can overcome any disability including dyslexia. She is a powerful leader to all of us. She has inspired us to overcome all of our fears like she overcame her fear of reading out in front of people. Our society has helped this disability by having tutoring and other services.

Fannie Flagg inspires me so much. She is so brave to show that she has dyslexia and read her story out front of everyone. No one even believed she had dyslexia because of all of the things she could do that would be hard to do with dyslexia. My thinking has changed so much, and has gone to a higher range of understanding and of how hard it is to have dyslexia. Fannie Flagg has done many things in her life that, if you had dyslexia, it would be hard. She was an actor, an author and hosted a TV show. All of these things she did she had to read, read a script or just read. So she was fighting against her dyslexia and still is.

Edward Verne Roberts (Born in 1939-Died in 1995) by Ella

Painting of Edward Verne Roberts

Edward Verne Roberts

“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, I’m possible” -Audrey Hepburn.

Edward Verne Roberts is an amazing person. He was the first person with a disability to go to the University of California, Berkeley. He is known for leading the disability rights movement.

Edward Verne Roberts was born on January 23, 1939. When he was fourteen, he got Polio. That was two years before doctors found a polio vaccine. He spent eighteen months in hospitals and returned home paralyzed from the neck down except for two fingers and several toes. Edward Verne Roberts was the leader of the disability rights movement. He was a good leader because he understood how it felt to be treated differently. He also knew what it felt like to be excluded from doing things that other people were allowed to do.

Edward Verne Roberts made the world a better place by helping people with disabilities understand they are able to do whatever they set their mind to do. An example is to be able to go to school even though you look different or learn differently. Everyone should always think of humans as a person first not their disability. We should never feel pity for someone because that’s showing that they are less than you.

Edward Verne Roberts inspired me to think of everyone as a person first not their disability. People with a disability can still learn and do anything if they believe they can.

Christopher Reeve (1952-2004) by Ellis

Painting of Christopher Reeve

Christopher Reeve

A.K.A. Superman. That’s right, Christopher Reeve played the Superman we know today! He was born in New York City. He went Cornell and wanted to start a career as an actor, so he played in: Pozzo, Waiting for Godot, Life is a Dream, Hamlet, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. He graduated in 1974.

He wasn’t born with his disability he got it when he was flung of a horse and hit his spinal cord. His body other than his head were paralyzed in 1995, so he had to have a machine to help him breath. He could not continue being an actor. When he got his disability he was really worried about his family being worried sick, but his family was very supportive of him. People made a website to help prevent people being paralyzed, and to get medicine that’s named after him.

Technology really helped him because if it weren’t for that breathing tube he would’ve just died there. But most of all his family helped him a lot because they encouraged him and were very supportive. He inspired me because he was a really good actor and second he pushed through being paralyzed. But he did die of heart failure. I think being paralyzed is bad, but if you have a lot of people who care about you and help you get through, it is not as bad as if everybody just left you alone and waited for you to die.

Ginny Ruffner (1952-living age 62) by Erika

Painting of Ginny Ruffner

Ginny Ruffner

Have you been in a three-way car accident? If you haven’t you are lucky, because it is painful. If you are asking yourself why I know that without experiencing it, well I’ll tell you. I know this because I learned about Ginny Ruffner. She was a huge inspiration for me.

Ginny Ruffner was in a car accident when she was 39 years old. She was in a coma for five months, and a wheelchair for five years, so she had to relearn to walk and talk. When she woke up from her coma, the first thing she did was point at an alphabet board and said, “Untie me.” At the hospital they tied her to the bed so she wouldn’t roll out. She spelled out, “Or I’m calling the American Medical Association.” The next thing she said was, “I need my studio.”

This is the part that was really interesting for me. Even though she couldn’t walk or talk she still wanted to make art. I think she made this world a better place because she made beautiful art. She also made the world a better place by showing the world that having a disability doesn’t prevent you from being an artist.

This person inspired people by making art even though she couldn’t walk or talk. Some of Ginny Ruffner’s art is displayed in downtown Seattle.

Lauren Potter (Born 1990-Present 23) by Esme

Painting of Lauren Potter

Lauren Potter

Do you have a hero? I do, her name is Lauren Potter. She is my hero because she was in a show for a very long time with Down syndrome. Lauren Potter is known for helping other people with disabilities and making sure that people don’t get bullied or be treated in a bad way.

May 10th 1990 in southern California, Inland Empire, Lauren was born. She was born with Down syndrome.

Laurens disability is related to her show in glee because in the show she is supposed to have Down syndrome. They asked her if she could be a cheerleader with Down syndrome.

Lauren has made this world a better place because she is in many committees and she is in Obamas committee that helps people who have a disability.

Think of everyone as people first, not their disability. Don’t stare or laugh at people who are different from you. Lauren inspires me because she is not only an actor she is a hero to many people. She helps others and she does not let other people bully someone else just because they are different.

Tom Cruise Mapother (1962- Present) by Faith

Painting of Tom Cruise Mapother

Tom Cruise Mapother

Have you ever been influenced by an actor? Well it might’ve been Tom Cruise. But did you know that he has dyslexia. Dyslexia is a reading disability and it makes it harder for him to read and even write. So while he is practicing for a show he might struggle reading his script. Tom Cruise was born in 1962 in Syracuse, New York. Some ways he copes is writing, even though he struggles. Tom’s mom and dad didn’t find out that he had dyslexia until he was 7, but he was actually born with it so they found out about 1st grade, which is usually when you start reading. When he went to Johnson State College the teachers helped him with his disability and tried to not let it bother him during class. The way Tom thinks he has overcome it is the church teachings of Scientology, which is a form of Christianity.

As a dad, Tom Cruise can also struggle to read to his two kids Isabella and Connor. His kids might question his disability. A way I think Tom has made this world a better place, is he does good job acting and he doesn’t make it seem like he has a disability. Well I don’t think we can change that he has a disability, but we can help him by not bringing it up. If you are with him don’t bring it up unless he brings it up. Tom tried to hide his disability from kids in Elementary so they would think he was one of the smartest kids. Tom Cruise has influenced me because; even though he has a disability, he fights through it even though he might struggle. Tom Cruise is one of the most famous actors of all time. I love that I chose him because I wanted to figure out what his disability was. I never knew that he had a disability. And he is my favorite actor.

Muhammad Ali (1942-Present) by Finn

Painting of Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali was the greatest boxer ever. He won almost every single battle he fought. He was interested in boxing from when he was a boy. When he was born he was named Cassius Clay. He was born in Louisville Kentucky. His dad’s name was also Cassius, and his mom’s name was Osseda. When he was young his bike was stolen he said he was going to whoop the thief and the police suggested to him that he channel his anger into boxing. Surprisingly Muhammad Ali did not go to college he continued to box. Fred Stoner trained him.

Muhammad Ali has Parkinson’s syndrome. He was not born with it came on because he was a boxer and he got hit on the head a lot. “Before I got Parkinson’s they thought of me as a superman after they said ‘he’s got problems too.’” His current wife’s name is Yolanda, and he had 7 daughters. Muhammad Ali defeated some of the best boxers.

Muhammad Ali was a religious leader for Muslims. As a boy he was Christian but he changed to Islam and fought racism against Muslims. He fought for his own rights, but also other people’s rights. He changed the world as we know it, although it has been slowly moving back towards what it was like when Ali was a boy. We can help to achieve what he did not finish. There is too much racism in the world. Muhammad Ali inspired me to help to remove the racism in the world; I want to make the world a better place. I think people are too racist and should really stop.

Stevie Wonder (May 13, 1950 – present age 63) by Gabrielle

Painting of Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder

What would you think of a person who was blind and played an instrument?

Would you think they would not be able to play beautifully? Stevie Wonder was an amazing singer and played the harmonica and piano, and he was very good at it.

Stevie Wonder was born in Saginaw, Michigan on May 13, 1950. He was born early and there was too much oxygen in his incubator. This caused his retinas to detach, which made Stevie blind. When he was four he moved to Detroit. Many things changed for him. He was born with the name Steveland Judkins, then his name was changed to Steveland Morris. Later it was changed to Steveland Hardaway Morris. He started playing many instruments very young. He started playing the harmonica, drums, and the bass. He made a partnership with a friend. They called themselves Stevie and John. They performed on the street corners, at parties, and at dances. He made his first recording at age 12.

Stevie Wonder makes the world a better place because his music inspires people to sing and dance, which brings joy to the world. We can make a disability less of a disability by thinking of Stevie Wonder. See how far he made it as a musician, and also see them as a person first.

In conclusion, Stevie inspires me because he taught me that anyone, even people who have disabilities, could do anything their hearts desire. Stevie Wonder is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This changed my thinking because I used to think that people with a disability couldn’t do as much. Now after researching for this project, I know that they can do anything. He also famously said, “Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn’t mean he lacks vision.” I would like to end this report with two things. Think about what Stevie Wonder’s quote means to you. Secondly, he is turning 64 on May 13th, so be sure to tell your parents Stevie Wonder’s birthday is coming up.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30th, 1882 to April 12th, 1945, age 63) by Harry

Painting of Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

You have a hero, right? And you have heard of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, too? He was the president of the United States of America for four terms and 13 years. He also had polio, short for poliomyelitis, which paralyzed him from the waist down. He is a hero for a lot of people, especially people with polio. FDR was the 32nd president of the U.S.A. from March 4th, 1933, to April 12th, 1945. He was also the 44th governor of New York from January 1st, 1929, to December 31st, 1932. He was also the assistant secretary of the military from March 17th, 1913 to August 27th, 1920. The president at that time was Woodrow Wilson. He was in the New York senate from January 1st, 1911 to March 17, 1913.

FDR had polio. The problem started when he fell in a chilly river on August 9th, 1921 and swam in it the next day. On the second day, he jogged around the island and exercised. The next day he went sailing, put out a fire, jogged across the island, and swam in a lake. After all of that, he said that he was tired. These activities caused him to catch a cold, which turned into polio. On the 11th, one of his legs was weak. By that afternoon, it was paralyzed.

Soon after, he was paralyzed from the waist down because of polio. We can help make this disease less of a disability by treating people as if they had never had the disability in the first place. You could do this by not staring, or lecturing the person about their disease. Don’t ask questions that might make them feel uncomfortable, or help anyone without asking first. You might offend or annoy someone by doing that. It was great learning about FDR.

If he was still alive then people could show respect to him with these suggestions. You can also use the people first language. For instance, don’t say, “retarded” or “autistic” or “wheelchair bound” instead, use “a person with autism” or “a person with a disability”. Overall, you should look at the person before the disability.

Daniel Inouye (1924 – 2012) by Oskar

Painting od Daniel Inouye

Daniel Inouye

On November 1st Daniel Inouye won a Medal of Honor for bravery. He also won a purple heart for bravery in World War II. Daniel Inouye was the second longest serving U.S. senator in history.

His right arm was blown off by a German grenade in World War II. After his right arm was blown off, he kept fighting. He was the highest-ranking Asian American politician in U.S. history. He was the first to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and later the first Japanese American in the U.S. senate. We can focus on all the things he achieved instead of staring at his lost arm.

I am inspired by how he kept on working on making the world a better place even though he lost his arm. He wanted to be a surgeon, but after his accident, he couldn’t. That didn’t stop him from becoming Hawaii’s most popular politician.

Jim Abbott (1967-Present) by Jack D.

Painting of Jim Abbott

Jim Abbott

Could you imagine not having a right hand? It would be hard to write, cook, clean, and lots of other constant jobs you do around the house. Jim Abbott is a baseball player that is missing his right hand. I was amazed that he tried so hard just to play baseball and his work paid off because he was a professional baseball player. He is most known playing baseball without a right hand.

Jim Abbott was born in Flint Michigan without a right hand. Later in life he learned how to play baseball with his own techniques. When he was little kid his parents were teenagers, but still wise. Their names are Mike and Kathy. When in his younger years he went to the University of Michigan. In college got gold in the Olympics.

When he was older he got a job in baseball and kept upgrading his job till he got in to professional baseball. He married a woman named Dana and he has two kids named Madeleine and Ella. I have seen him play baseball and I think he is amazing and never stopped trying and I almost can’t believe how determined he was to play baseball without a right hand. I am very impress that how much he tried to keep going and never stopped trying I think he is a great leader and very smart and never felt bad after a minor setback. I think Jim Abbott changed the world by teaching everyone how to never give up, and always believe in himself or herself.

Jim Abbott inspires me to never give up, keep trying and if you start on the bottom of the crowd work your way up. Jim Abbott helps me believe in what I believe and to ignore other people’s bad comments. What would you do without any of Jim Abbott’s virtues?

Edwin (Buzz) Eugene Aldrin Jr (January 20TH, 1930 __ Present) By Jack F

Painting of Buzz Aldrin

Edwin (Buzz) Eugene Aldrin Jr

Did you know that Buzz Aldrin’s real name is Buzz, and that the nick name buzz comes from when his sister couldn’t pronounce brother so she said ‘‘buzzer” which turned into buzz? Buzz Aldrin is best known for being the second man to walk on the moon. He was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. Read on and find out more Fantastic facts. Buzz suffered From MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) and Alcoholism. MDD means that He had a consistent low mood, Low self-esteem, a loss of attention to normally fun or pleasure filled activities. Alcoholism means having an addiction to Alcohol, where the person drinks way too much alcohol in a short period of time. It is usually an accompanied with deteriorating health. He suffered after retirement and they both just went away after he married the first time.

He was the second man to walk on the moon. He flew 66 combat missions during the Korean War. He has been awarded sixteen different civilian, military, and astronaut medals. Including the Congressional gold medal. To help people with alcoholism, companies should strop advertising Alcohol with people having a good time and drinking.

Also toys shouldn’t have alcohol related things on them. Buzz inspires me to think that any idea can become real with enough effort, like getting someone on the moon? That would have seemed like a fantasy, but it happened. I think that society can help with alcoholism by not advertising alcohol as much, especially on toys. And to help MDD is to learn more about what they (the people with MDD) are going through.

David Beckham (1975 – Present age 39) by Joe

Painting of David Beckham

David Beckham

David Beckham is known for his amazing soccer playing. He was bullied for most of his school years because of his OCD. Inside he was very stressed and also agitated. OCD means that you think things over and over again.

David Beckham had OCD when he was born. At school, kids didn’t believe that he had OCD, and I think that would be very frustrating if my classmates didn’t believe what I said was true. He also got cyber bullied. One girl threatened to bring a knife to school and stab him, which is horrible. I don’t think his OCD affected his soccer playing but it could have affected his ability to practice and become a good soccer player like he is. He has inspired me because even though he has a disability, he can still do sports really well.

As a society we need to recognize the person first so they are a person before anything else. We should not treat those with mental health issues differently. We need to support them and not make them feel like an outsider. Educating children to understand OCD and other disabilities will help us all treat others in a respectful way.

Howard “Howie” Michael Mandel by Jack H.

Painting of Howie Mandel

Howard “Howie” Mandel

“The success of any stand-up comes out of life experience”-H.M.M

Howard Michael Mandel, or Howie is a famous television comedian and game show host of Deal or No Deal. Howie may seem like just a normal person, but secretly he struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). His OCD is very extreme. He will not shake hands, touch doorknobs, the floor or be in the same room as someone who is sick, even his family.

Howie was born in Canada in 1955. He knew that he had OCD when he was six years old because he would do action that he did not want to do like washing his hands and being afraid and paranoid all of his life. OCD usually develops between the ages of six to ten years of age.

Howie famous for shows, movies, and TV. He has a signature fist-bump instead of shaking hands because he is afraid hand might be dirty. For example, when Howie was driving to the airport with his family his daughter accidently crossed her legs and touched his pant leg. Then Howie was paranoid that there were germs at the bottom of her shoe and so he wanted to go home.

Howie was afraid that his OCD would ruin his television career, but when he finally came out with it, it did not harm. OCD can give you an alarm in your head that says “Danger!” when there is not actually danger.

I can relate to Howie because I have also have OCD. Howie and I have similar OCD actions like being afraid of germs and over washing our hands. Howie Mandel is a cool person and I think that we can try to make him fit in more by helping him by learning about him and OCD.

Chuck Close (July 5, 1940 – Present; age 73) by Kate

Painting of Chuck Close

Chuck Close

“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, I’m possible.” –Audrey Hepburn

Chuck Close was one of the most inspirational and phenomenal artists in the world. His paintings and drawings are amazing, some so realistic people can’t believe they are paintings, and others are completely abstract. His art is hung in museums across America.

As a kid, Chuck was diagnosed with dyslexia, which made school very hard for him. He had a very challenging childhood because his dad died when he was eleven, and his mom was sick with cancer for many years, but he found a love for art. Despite what everybody said, he graduated with degrees from the University of Washington and Yale! On December 7, 1988 Chuck Close had a spinal artery collapse which left him paralyzed from the neck down. Just because Chuck was paralyzed it didn’t stop him from painting.

Chuck has inspired people all around the world. His art brings joy and fascination to people of all ages. He has even inspired society to think of disabilities differently. There are some ways that you can learn, too. Think of everyone as a person first. Don’t just think of their disability, or how they are different from you. Everyone is different and unique, and that is a good thing.

Chuck Close has inspired me to never give up. He taught me to keep trying no matter how hard life is, and to always follow my passion in life. Just because Chuck has a disability it doesn’t stop him from being an extraordinary person.

Alicia Alonso (1921-Present) by Katie

Painting of Alicia Alonso

Alicia Alonso

Alicia Alonso is now 92, and is best known for being a choreographer and a ballerina! She was born in Havana, the capital of Cuba. She spent one and a half years of her life in a bed with a bandage wrapped around her eyes, not allowed to move, laugh or eat hard foods.

Alicia was diagnosed with a detached retina in 1941. She had to lay in bed for about a year and a half and could not eat hard foods, laugh, cry, or move at all. She was not born with this disability and today it is pretty much gone but she will never have perfect eyesight. After the surgery a hurricane shattered a glass door over her eyes and face but luckily she was okay. After this she went back to dancing. When she was having surgery her husband, Fernando Alonso who was also a ballerina, kept her spirits and hopes alive.

One thing that Alicia Alonso helped people learn is that after you hurt yourself you have to get right back up and try again! I think we should try to make a better surgery for a detached retina, so patients wouldn’t have to lay in bed for a year and a half. I think we can make Alicia’s and other people who have a disability like hers, less of a disability by looking at them without their disability. She is an amazing dancer and choreographer and she is one of the best dancers in the world and I think we should look up to her not just as a dancer but as an amazing human.

Alicia inspires me to keep trying until you accomplish your goal. I think I’ve really learned from Alicia, she is an amazing person and has overcome so much. She has turned a negative into a positive.

David Beckham (David Robert Joseph Beckham) (1975-Present) by Kiki

Painting of David Beckham

David Beckham

Does the name David Beckham ring a bell?  You may think of soccer. You may think of his beautiful wife and children. You may think that you see him all the time on television or in commercials. But did you know that he has a disability? David Beckham has OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations, or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something. For David Beckham, his obsession is that he has to have everything organized. David Beckham was diagnosed with OCD at age ten. He felt an urge to always have everything organized. For example, when he puts away his Pepsi cans in the refrigerator, the cans have to be lined up in a certain way. When he stays in a hotel, he has to put all the books away by organizing them in drawers. He has three different refrigerators, one for drinks, one for food and one for salad.

He has a lot of tattoos because he enjoys the pain while he is getting them. He has tried to stop this behavior but he can’t. I think what makes David Beckham such a fantastic soccer player is partly because of his disability, because if he wants to be in control over everything than he must get an amazing urge to get the ball.

David Beckham has made the world a better place because he has cleared the path for kids with OCD to not be scared or ashamed and to be able to do something great with their life. I think we should all realize that it is good to be different and having a disability should not make you feel any less special.

Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809-April 15, 1895) by Matthew

Painting of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

Today I will be telling you all about Abraham Lincoln. He was the sixteenth President of the United States of America, one of the most known Presidents, and he suffered from severe mood swings.

Abraham Lincoln was known for freeing the slaves of America. He had depression, which I think happened because his mother, sister, and brother died when he was very young, and also from losing three out of four sons. His disability helped him because it helped him focus on his work. He made the world a better place by freeing the slaves, but was never able too find a treatment for his depression.

In the eighteen hundreds, depression was not recognized as a disability, so Lincoln could not get medical help. That didn’t stop him from doing great things; he turned his weaknesses into strengths by hiding his mood swings from the public and working to make The United States a better place.

By studying Lincoln, I have learned to work and stand up for others. Lincoln is a great example for standing up to others, and standing up for others. Abraham Lincoln is a great role model.

Stevie Wonder or Stevland Hardaway Morris (1950-Present) by Milo

Painting of Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder

Stevland Morris or Stevie Wonder is one of the best-known musician’s in the world, because he had amazing music and because he was blind. He started playing music at 4 years old.

Stevland was born in Saginaw, Michigan as the thirdof six children to Calvin Judkins and Lula Mae Hardaway. He was born six weeks early and there was too much oxygen in the hospital incubator, so he got a disease called retinopathy of prematurity or ROP, which resulted in his eyes didn’t grow and caused the retinas to detach, so he became blind. In his success this disability helped a little bit get his name known because he made amazing music and he did it all with no eyes.

He has changed the world with his music because, when he was a young boy not very many, and no white people would listen to his music and now, white people idolize him. How he makes his disability better for him is he uses his other senses that work, like feeling and listening.

In opinion, Stevie Wonder inspires me because he made amazing music without the use of his eyes and he never gave up because it was really easy for him to just stop and do nothing with his life. But he went and made a somebody of the nobody that he was born as.

Harriet Tubman (1820-1913) by Naomi

Painting of Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember that you have the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars and change the world.”—Harriet Tubman.

Harriet Tubman was an African American woman. She bravely led over 300 slaves to freedom. She never lost a single slave. She was known as the “Moses of her people.”

Harriet had narcolepsy, which was caused when a slaver threw a two-pound weight at another slave but it hit Harriet instead. It caused her to have sudden sleeping spells (especially after the accident) but fortunately this did not hinder her work. Harriet made the world better by leading over 300 slaves to freedom. She helped the Union win the Civil War. She was also a leader of her people. What we can do to make narcolepsy less of a disability is say that there are a lot of famous people with narcolepsy. Harriet Tubman. Mr. Benedict in the Mysterious Benedict Society. People like that. That might make people think “Wow they are really powerful in their day.” People should not be scared of people with narcolepsy. If they are, then they must not be educated. If you are educated then you can help with this. “Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world.”—Nelson Mandela. It doesn’t matter that people may have a disability. What matters is whom they are inside.

I don’t pity Harriet Tubman for having narcolepsy. I respect her. She was a wonderful person. She was a free woman. As Mahatma Gandhi said “you must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Michael Phelps (Born June 30 – 1985-present age 28) by Nicolas

Painting of Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps

“You can’t put a limit on anything, the more you dream, the farther you get,” said Michael Phelps the Olympic champion.

Michael Phelps has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder). He was diagnosed with ADHD at age 9. ADHD helped him to win his 22 Olympic medals (18 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze).

Having ADHD is no longer a negative thing. That is a good thing. Once Michael Phelps got very angry at getting 2nd place and threw his goggles on the ground. After that incident, Michael Phelps and his mom created signals that he can see when his mom is in the stands. These signals helped him stay focused.

His mother helped him a lot. His mom helped so much that when he got his first gold medal in Athens at the 2004 Olympics. He left the podium and walked to his mother who was sitting in the stands, and gave her the garland that crowned his head. He put it on his mom’s head instead of his own. As you can see he is very devoted to his mom.

All of society should be more like Michael Phelps’ mother and see the winner inside all of us instead of the disability.

Stephen Hawking (1942- Present age 70) by Noa

Portrait of Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” –Albert Einstein.

Everybody has differences. No one should let that difference stop him or her from realizing his or her opportunities. Stephen Hawking has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS, and he is one of the most famous physicists in the WORLD. Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with ALS at age 21. Despite this ever-growing fact, he persevered with his love for space. Hawking has earned 12 honorary degrees and a number of other awards. (I’m surprised he hasn’t won the Nobel Prize for physics yet!) I think it’s amazing how he didn’t let his disability stand in the way of his own incredible learning ability.

Stephen Hawking is a role model for everybody. He has shown that it doesn’t matter how you are different, what matters is being all you can be. Society should treat people with disabilities like they don’t have that disability. The word “disability” itself is just a medical term, not a descriptive factor in that individual. They are a person first, not a disability. We need to treat others how we want to be treated. Society also needs to understand that it doesn’t matter what differences we have. It doesn’t matter if I have brown hair and you have blond. What actually matters is what’s INSIDE.

Stephen Hawking inspires me because he’s proven to the world that having a disability doesn’t prevent you from doing what you want to do. My favorite part of learning about this amazing person was reading about how he doesn’t let other people bother him. He doesn’t care what they think of him. Stephen Hawking is definitely someone to look up as a role model for perseverance.

Alicia Alonso (1921-present age 92) by Macaria

Painting of Alicia Alonso

Alicia Alonso

Do you feel like a total outsider? Well, you shouldn’t. People are different in many ways. That reminds me about Alicia Alonso. Alicia Alonso was a dancer Alicia is a 92 year-old woman who was born on December 21, 1921 in Havana, Cuba. At age 19 Alicia was diagnosed with a retina disorder. The retina is a light layer of tissue in the eye. Her disorder left her partially blind. What is special about Alicia Alonso is that she is also a ballerina who didn’t let her partial blindness get in her way, and she kept doing what she loved. Alicia is well known for being a Cuban ballerina and choreographer who danced with George Balanche’s Ballet Caravan and the American Ballet Theatre. Alicia Alonso still practices dancing ballet today. She currently lives in New York, New York.

Alicia made this world a better place because everyone enjoys watching her dance. She also showed that you can overcome anything that tries to stand in your way. Also, a person with a disability is a person first, not a person with a disability. Everyone is different in different ways. That’s what makes everybody special. Alicia Alonso inspires me because she was a dancer who was blind, but she still never gave up.

Christy Brown (June 5, 1932-September 7, 1981) by Olivia

Painting of Christy Brown

Christy Brown

Do you like Irish artists? Well then read on! Christy Brown is a superb artist with the amazing ability to paint spectacular self-portraits and write books and articles. But he did it all with ONLY his left foot.

When he was born, it was discovered Christy had cerebral palsy and was completely paralyzed except for his left foot. His mother was told that he would be unable to learn or do anything else. But his mother did not believe that and stubbornly taught Christy to read. There was a day when he picked up a piece of chalk with his left foot and started making marks with it. After that he learned to do arithmetic and to write. He also loved writings- stories and poems- so much that he started doing his own. His most famous piece of writing is an autobiography called “My Left Foot”. That was later made into a movie because it was so good. He enjoyed doing self-portraits as well with his left foot.

We can probably make the world a better place for people who are paralyzed and have cerebral palsy by having special teachers that can teach them to read and write. Also the teachers can teach them more about what interests them like Christy learning to paint and to write poems and stories. We can also have people who have them exercise their muscles like my brother. His finger muscles are not as strong as other kindergartener’s so he can’t write as well. So people like Katie (his teacher who helps him) can do that. That will make them stronger and then enables them to do more. Christy Brown really inspired me by showing me even with a major disability you can still be an artist, a painter and a poet. He also did it very very well. I think that I also understand a little more what it’s like to have a disability either minor or major. He overcame a lot but at one point in life he became alcoholic because he was so sad. I wonder what made him so sad but he still was an amazing artist, poet and author and overcame multiple things.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) by Peter

Painting of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, the most incredible president of all, suffered from ‘’melancholy.’’ Abraham Lincoln as you might have guessed was the president who rid the U.S. of slavery. He was born in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky.

Abraham Lincoln suffered melancholy, which today is known as depression. His son died when he was twelve in 1862 while he was president. Abraham developed melancholy. Melancholy affected him because he had to deal with the Civil War, which he won. I could not imagine having a dead family member and being the president while a civil war was going on. It clearly was a lot of stress. Abraham Lincoln made the world a better place in many ways. He stopped slavery, he made the greatest speech of all (the Gettysburg Address) and he did it all while struggling with depression. We can make his disability less of a disability by treating him and other people like him with respect.

Abraham Lincoln inspires me in many ways. He taught me that even when times are hard you can still push through and win. I thought that Abraham Lincoln was just a president who stopped slavery – boy was I wrong! It turns out he was a man with great sadness who still accomplished greatness.

Freddie Steven Roach (Fredrick Steven Roach) (1960-Present) by Zoe

Painting of Freddie Steven Roach

Freddie Steven Roach

Do you like boxing? Well, then you ought to read this tremendous article about Freddie Roach who has been through many struggles with the help of his kindhearted family. In his family he has his father, Paul Roach, his mother, Barbara and his two brothers, Joey and Pepper. Freddie was born in Dedham, Massachusetts and is 54 right now. A few other interesting facts include he never went to college and he weighs 132 pounds. One of his brothers, Pepper, died in 2009 from a heart attack and died in Las Vegas. Pepper had also been a boxer and fought ten games.

Freddie Roach has Parkinson’s disease, which is when you shake and you can’t control your body. He retired from boxing at the age of 26 because of his shaking. He still wanted to be a part of boxing, but knew it would probably be too hard for him to continue, so he started to be a boxing coach. After a couple of years he had trained 27 boxing champions. To try to control his disease during the day he takes three pills at different times of the day. The pills won’t fully make him stop shaking but it will make his shaking less severe than if he never took the pills. One of the challenges that he faces is that he has to try to control his body while he is teaching everyone.

Freddie Roach’s disability helped him succeed because he didn’t just stop doing boxing and lay around the house doing nothing. He followed his dreams and is still a part of boxing, but he is coaching famous boxers and not boxing himself. We can make his disability less of a disability by not calling it that and using a different word that would be nicer. For example, instead of saying, “why do you have a disability?” you can say it in a kinder way like “I am very sorry that you are a person with a disability, is there anything that I can help you with?” There are also many other terms that you could use that are respectful if you meet somebody or have friends with disabilities.

My impression of Freddie Roach is that no matter what he looks like or how he talks, it doesn’t mean he is powerless or hopeless. Another thing is that you shouldn’t judge people if they are new and you haven’t seen them before, you should find out who they are inside. In other words, if you are a person with a disability, how would you feel if people made fun of you? You would probably be really sad and fight back or run away. In conclusion, we can help people with disabilities by not talking behind their backs and being very kind to them.

Jean Driscoll (1966-present) by Ruth

Painting of Jean Driscoll

Jean Driscoll

Jean Driscoll is a wheelchair racer who was named 25th of the top 100 athletic women of the twentieth century by Sports Illustrated. The ranking included athletes who were not living with disabilities also, which makes it even more of an accomplishment for her to be recognized. Jean Driscoll received her Olympic silver medal from the Queen of Spain. She is also the first 8-time Boston Marathon racer.

Jean Driscoll was born with spina bifida (an open back), so she had to wear steel braces and was often teased. Her siblings sometimes forgot to pull her home in the wheelbarrow. At age 13, Jean took a sharp fall from her bike slamming her hip into the concrete. It took a triple surgery to try to mend her hip socket and she was in a body cast for a year. Yet, with a serious disability, she came out determined to be a very athletic woman. She took up wheelchair sports and broke world records, WOW!!!

She spent a year in a body cast, and was often left behind and teased at school. What can we as a society do to change that? Well, a key thing is just accepting and being kind to people with disabilities. If we make other people accepted and welcome, their disability is less of a disability. Jean Driscoll broke world records, and she changed the world with a disability.

Jean Driscoll is an amazing person. She inspired me by wanting to be athletic even though she had a disability. She also wanted it to be real. When she went into a room where people were playing wheelchair basketball she thought, YEAH! Because people where slamming chairs and really being real not protective and timid. Researching her made me look up to her and appreciate her. It is sad that people may recognize the name “Messi” but not Jean Driscoll.

Ray Charles (1930-2004) by Rashid

Painting of Ray Charles

Ray Charles

Ray Charles lived 73 long years as a great musician and entertainer. He specifically was a jazz singer. He was known for mixing jazz, pop and modern rock to make great songs that were on the Billboard and are still highly thought of to this day.

Ray Charles was blind. He started to lose his sight when he was 5 years old and went completely blind at the age of 7. He is one of the many blind musicians because they have to learn how to hear a lot better than regular people so they can learn what to do and where to go.

Ray Charles taught everyone that you should overcome your disability and do something great. One way we can change he world is to not feel bad for people with disabilities and think of them as normal people that just feel or look different. A famous quote from Ray Charles is “Music to me is like breathing-I don’t get tired of breathing, I don’t get tired of music.”

Ray Charles taught me that even if you have an obstacle in life you could overcome it and become a great person. He inspires me because he has gone through a long, hard time with a disability but he persevered and he became a very respected person.

Lauren Potter (1990-Present) by Avery

Painting of Lauren Potter

Lauren Potter

You might recognize Lauren Potter from a show called Glee or from a movie called Mr. Blue Sky. In Glee she plays a cheerleader named Becky Jackson the cheerleader coach has a soft spot for her because her sister has the same disability, but that’s only in the TV show. She grew up in Southern California’s Inland Empire. She is a very good actress in Glee, and I think it is cool how she plays someone who has Downs Syndrome and she has Downs Syndrome. Her mom’s name is Robin and her mom helps her through times that are tough.

The 24-year-old Lauren was born with the disability. When she was 3-4 she entered a dance program and started acting a little bit after that. Then she had the dream of being famous but she also wanted to be seen as “normal” and when she was old enough she started in Glee. In 2011 Obama appointed Lauren to the President’s Committee for people with intellectual disabilities, which is a positive part of her situation.

When Lauren was in elementary school a group of boys would make, her eat sand because she was different, they would also stand behind her in line and tease and make fun of her. Finally when she was done, with them teasing her, she told a teacher and told them to STOP! When I read about this it was very shocking that boys would make her eat sand!

If I had a disability I would be inspired because she stood up for herself when she was very young and the people she stood up to listened to her and stopped teasing her. She also had a dream and it was to become famous. I would also be inspired without a disability because she is a very good leader to other people who want to be famous. Also when she was a kid she wanted to be famous and be seen “normal” I just see her as Lauren Potter. I think when she was in elementary school and stood up for herself, which told the people around her who had a disability that making fun of someone who has a disability is not right. I think it was good that those boys stopped, but I think if she had not stood up for herself they would have kept teasing her.

2 thoughts on “Portrait of the Whole Person: Paintings and Biographies

  1. Jeanne Gabriel says:

    Such an important, sensitive and inspiring project. The portraits
    are beautifully rendered with the character of the selected person brought out in careful tones, shading and lovely background color. I liked the expressive, honest writing and find the term “differently-abled” to be a respectful, unifying word
    reminding us that we are much more alike than different.
    Hurrah for 4th graders…keep on painting and thinking!

    1. M. G. Stroh says:

      Thank you for writing. Stacie Siebrecht does a wonderful job this project and the Bertschi School has been an exceptional partner.

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