Dancers, gymnasts, cheerleaders, and drummers “wowed” audience members at the 3rd Annual Evening of Inspiration, an event featuring students in special education that was held recently at McEachern High School.
“You are going to be wowed, you are going to be entertained, and you are going to be inspired,” declared guest speaker Dr. Tracie Doe at the start of the event, billed as a showcase of talents and interests. “This evening is all about students with special abilities,” said Doe, CCSD Assistant Superintendent of Teaching & Learning, Support & Specialized Services, as she opened the program.
Joining the performers on stage were student artists, Scouts, and a young adult who shared his educational journey through CCSD and beyond into the workforce. The Evening of Inspiration is an annual collaboration between the special education parent mentors of Cobb County School District and Douglas County School System, in conjunction with District 9 PTA.
“We are thrilled to stage this event where students in special education are the stars,” said Stacy Greene, one of CCSD’s special education parent mentors. “Their talents, interests and successes are a true inspiration to others in what is possible for these students.”
McEachern High’s Mighty Indian Cheer Squad got the energy flowing with several cheers, and the Sesa Wo Suban Drummers from Youth Villages Inner Harbour Campus in Douglas County brought the crowd to its feet as audience members danced to the beat. Members of the Cobb County Special Olympics Gymnastics Team showed their skills while the Special Talents Entirety Program (S.T.E.P.) dancers performed to “A Million Dreams.” Norah Scarborough, a 3rd grade Girl Scout, recited the GS Promise and Law, while Boy Scout Charles Hardage shared his activities and showed off his karate moves. Hardage had led the Pledge of Allegiance early in the program, as did Joshua Kimambei. Middle school students Abby Reed and Jiaz Abidogun shared their artwork, and high school student Catherine Duffy shared her ballet talents. Several pieces of “Inspired by the HeART” artwork by Cobb’s students in special education were on display during the evening, and Jessy Patterson of the Art Station – Big Shanty explained the purpose behind that special needs art show.
Special Olympian Shannon Laffey showed off her gymnastics talents as her mother shared about her success as a CCSD Transition Academy graduate and Home Depot employee. Capping off the night was Jordan White, a Kennesaw Mountain High and KSU graduate with autism who shared his educational experience and journey into the workforce as a Home Depot software engineer.
“We loved the variety of talents and stories that this year’s participants brought to the stage,” said Antoinette Nichols, the other one of CCSD’s special education parent mentors. “We are already looking forward to next year’s event!”
Authors: Stacy Greene and Antoinette Nichols, Special Education Parent Mentors