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Nathan is Hebrew and means "gift from God" - we couldn't have been more blessed than to have been chosen as his parents!

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Special Education Loaf

As some of you may be aware, I am enrolled in a local culinary program that I just love!   For the past year, I've concentrated on baking and last semester that included an International Baking course.  The classes are long compared to my own three-hour classes ~ I arrive around 5:00PM and usually am not home until close to 11:00PM.  Although, class is suppose to end at 10:00PM, it usually doesn't.  Our classes are all hands-on with very little lecture ~ my kind of cooking school!!  Each class consists of about four different desserts and a bread ~ it's a very busy, fun and social environment.   However, during one of our three weeks on Italian desserts and breads, I overheard one of my classmates refer to his uncooked and unleavened bread as the "special education loaf."  Now, for those of you who don't bake in a commercial bakery, which is probably most of you, let me give you a little background, so you can understand the significance of his comment.

During class, we're not just baking for the sake of it, we're baking for the restaurant on campus, so when we make bread, it's in huge quantities.  After you've completed the mixing, the bread loaves are measured using a scale to precise gram amounts, so each loaf is uniform in size and cooks consistently.  At the end of this process, there is invariably a smaller loaf leftover because no one measures precisely to the exact gram with the scales we use.  They're not electronic, but have weights that attach to one side ~ they look a bit like the old school scales or the scales of justice.  This smaller, less than perfect and possibly unsellable loaf, was what he had referred to as the "special education loaf."  (It's too bad he neglected to acknowledge that it still tasted just as delicious.  It may have looked a little different, but inside it was still the same.)

As I was zumming past their station, that comment figuratively clotheslined me and I thought ~ "damn it ~ this is a symbolic reflection of what society thinks of my son ~ how can people be so ignorant?"  At that moment, as hurt as I was and as wrong as I thought that comment was, I said nothing and stayed on task.  But, it ate at me all week.  Not just the comment, but that I allowed him to say that and did nothing to defend my son and all those persons with different abilities.  So, the following week, when this person and I happened to be doing dishes together, I confronted him about his comment.  I told him that it hurt my feelings because I had a son with Down syndrome and I thought he was being very hurtful to him and to the young lady that was in our class that also happen to have special needs. 

He was a complete gentleman and apologized for his words and the hurt it caused, but it still eats at me today.  Danny and I have thought about how we may be able to change the mindset of people in the field of special education ~ in our own little way.  What we've come up with, and I still have a lot of work to do to put it all together, but we've decided to offer a scholarship to a graduating senior in our school district who plans on entering the field of special education ~ The Nathan Terry Special Education Scholarship.  Although, it will be in Nathan's name, it is in honor of Nathan's A-Team (Kim, Dale, Kathy and Laurie) and all the special educators who dedicate their lives to loving and educating our children (like his current teachers ~ Miss Jenn, Chris M and Chris S).

Being in Special Education or a recipient of their love, dedication and knowledge doesn't make my son or any child with a disability any less of a person. 

Adversity in life is an opportunity for greatness ~ an opportunity to make a difference

To all you special educators out there ~~  YOU ROCK AND WE LOVE YOU! 

Nathan's scholarship will be our small way to make a difference because you've made a difference to us and so many.  xxoo     

Oh, and by the way ~ I happen to think my son is pretty smart!!  He knows his A B C's ~ he can count, he knows his shapes and colors and his language is exploding!!  Hats off to all our special educators and the dedicated parents who support them because learning is a team sport!!  


2 comments:

Mairead Elizabeth Hickok said...

What an amazing and generous thing for your family to do. No wonder Nathan is such a great kid- he has great parents!

Dale said...

The entire "Terry family" is amazing! It was a gift to be a small part of Nathan's life ~ Wow what a wonderful pay it forward you are assembling for what will be a very lucky future educator!