The students at Beech Hill Elementary in Summerville, S.C., are living up to their school’s motto to “SHINE” all year long. “SHINE” stands for Safe, Honest, Intelligent, Nurturing and Empowered. The school invited community members to speak on each part of the motto. I was asked to speak about empowerment by one of my high school classmates, Elizabeth Stone, who is a special education teacher at Beech Hill.
The students were taught that a person who is empowered is as a brave and confident leader. During the morning program, which was broadcasted to all of the classrooms, one of the students interviewed me and asked how I am empowered in the workplace. I mentioned that I feel the most empowered when I can offer assistance to my coworkers to complete a major task.
I’m also empowered when I share my story of living with a disability. I can help others who are going through similar situations. It’s inspiring to see others with disabilities who are going to school and work, supporting their families and living each day to the fullest of their abilities.
After the morning program, I also spoke to a few of the special education classes. It was exciting for me speak to the students at Beech Hill Elementary, but I think the kids were more excited to see my wheelchair. I demonstrated the seat elevation function and all the other bells and whistles of my chair. Many of them were excited to hear how I drive my van to take myself places, including work, school and outings with friends and family.
I know these students will be the next brave and confident leaders who will empower a nation! I am grateful that I had the opportunity to be part of their program.
How are you empowered?