Monday, April 6, 2009

Yes I Can Awards 2009

Every year at the Council for Exceptional Children conference, we have the Yes I Can Awards. It is one of my favorite events of the conference because it is a chance to honor the students who, despite their challenges, have made a difference in their lives and others. They are awarded in the categories of Academics, Arts, Athletics, Community Service, Employment, Extracurricular Activities, Independent Living Skills, Self Advocacy, and Technology. What a thrill it was to see these students on stage being recognized for good things in their lives! Their parents/guardians were also there to share in this fantastic moment of their lives and many of them probably didn’t ever expect of this to happen for their child. The audience was packed with people who wanted to share this celebration with the students and every year I bring along the tissues because I know I’m going to cry. Danny O'Flaherty, the Celtic Balladeer was there to sing for us again and he is one of my favorite singers. He sang the Yes I Can song that really says it all for not just these students but I think it applies to all students. One young lady with autism was given the award but the applause was too much for her so she threw her hands over her ears. Immediately the crowd stopped and put their hands over their heads and wiggled their fingers instead. Her hands came down from her ears and her face broadened with a huge smile as she walked back to her seat. What an awesome day for these amazing young people! You can go to the website to see the names of the winners.

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