2012 program emphasizes the abilities of those living with disabilities
BIRMINGHAM, Mich., March 9, 2012 – Birmingham, Mich.-based The Roeper School, a co-educational day school for gifted children, will conclude its annual diversity celebration on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at the school’s Middle/Upper School campus. Roeper Interim Head of School Phillip Deely made the announcement.
The diversity day celebration, which is held annually to raise awareness and stress the importance of personal and cultural differences, includes a wide array of specially planned activities for students from preschool through high school. This year, activities and guest speakers were primarily selected to focus on disabilities and educating the students on living life with disabilities. In order to maximize the experience for all students, the diversity day initiatives were held on different days at each Roeper campus.
This year’s Middle/Upper School celebration will run from 10:00 a.m.-11:55 a.m. on March 14, 2012 at Roeper’s Birmingham campus, located at 1051 Oakland Avenue in Birmingham, Mich. The program’s theme, focus and plan were developed by the Roeper Student Diversity Advisory Committee and the school’s Diversity and Community Project Coordinator Carolyn Lett. The morning’s activities will include presentations by several athletes in wheelchairs and will conclude with a wheelchair basketball game, in which many students will participate to experience the situations these athletes live with on a daily basis. Following the game, students will be treated to a multicultural lunch prepared and donated by parents.
The diversity day presentations will be led by guest speaker Jerry Sarasin, a Troy, Mich. resident who, at the age of 24, was involved in a hit and run motorcycle accident that left him completely paralyzed from the waist down due to a spinal cord injury. During his rehabilitation at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., he started playing basketball as part of his therapy and dedicated himself to maximizing all of his abilities. Eventually, he became one of the state’s finest wheelchair athletes, particularly as a member of the Michigan Thunderbirds wheelchair basketball team. Jerry has helped lead the Thunderbirds to multiple national tournaments and two national championship appearances, winning one. Jerry was selected to teach a wheelchair basketball course at Michigan State University to bring awareness to adaptive sports. In addition to his prowess on the basketball court, Jerry has been an active participant in many other sports. He continues to serve as a mentor to people of all ages living with disabilities and volunteers his time to make disability awareness presentations at schools and community events throughout Michigan. In 2007, he was inducted into the Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame and, in 2010, he received a Community Service Award from the Michigan Recreation and Park Association. In addition to Jerry, students will also hear from athletes with a variety of disabilities to explain safety and the importance of protecting yourself and understanding others.
“The concept of diversity means a great deal to our faculty and students,” said Lett. “Our school was founded upon principles of diversity, equality and acceptance. It is important that we teach our students to respect people of all backgrounds, physical abilities, ethnicities and races, while stressing the importance of individuality and diversity.”
The Roeper Lower School’s diversity day celebration was held in February and included a Disability Awareness Workshop (DAW) for fourth and fifth grade students. Students actively participated in the hands-on, activity-based workshop, which was designed to help them understand the challenges of daily living for individuals with disabilities; and emphasize the message that people should be respected no matter how they look, act, walk or talk. Students were also educated by a guest speaker living with a head injury, as well as being exposed to elements or Irish culture, a multicultural lunch and discussions led by individual teachers.
For more information regarding the event, please call (248) 203-7406 or visit www.roeper.org.
Founded in 1941, The Roeper School is a uniquely personalized, coeducational school for gifted and talented children in preschool through grade 12 from over 60 communities in southeast Michigan. With campuses in Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Roeper was conceived on founding principles that recognize the power of education, choice and self-expression, and the transformative impact these principles have on young minds. For more information, please visit www.roeper.org.