Monday, February 7, 2011

School Videos Share Inspiring Student Stories

If you look beyond the headline-making news stories on the major TV networks, you’ll often find inspiring clips about ordinary people in all walks of life who do extraordinary things. But if you’re looking to be truly inspired, the video library on the SchoolTube Web site reveals more inspiration than the major networks could hope to generate.


At Taylor High School in Katy, Texas, the Best Buddies program is enhancing the lives of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities by pairing them with their peers from the general education population. Buddies hang out outside of school by enjoying movies, sporting events, bike riding, and more. In addition, special activities -- including parties and an annual poinsettia sale -- provide opportunities for Best Buddies to connect as a group.

Students who serve as buddies say they get more from the program than they could possibly give their special buddies.

“My friendship with [my Best Buddy] Nick is a lot different than most of my other friendships,” says Jacqueline Jones, a student participant in the program. “He has taught me a lot about how to see life in a different light. It’s really encouraging to see how much he loves his life.”

Indeed, Best Buddies is changing the lives of all its participants. It teaches the value of friendship and an appreciation for all people no matter their appearance or abilities.

The Best Buddies program at Taylor is part of the international Best Buddies organization.


Madison Pixley proves that what some might see as a disability doesn’t need to be that at all. In spite of being born with just one arm, Madison doesn’t think about her arm at all -- especially when she is on the court with her volleyball teammates at Dexter (Missouri) High School.

“I’m just like any other 15-year-old girl,” says Madison. “I go through all the same experiences as everyone else.”

Madison’s parents have never treated Madison’s arm as a disability either. “She can do anything that anybody else can do,” says her father, who happens to be the school’s football coach. “She may do some things a little bit differently, but she acts the same, she is a popular kid, she has a good attitude, she’s athletic.”

Madison proves one good arm is enough every time she takes the court. Her activities and interests off the court are worthy of note, too. She was recently awarded the Make a Difference Challenge Award for her work at an area camp for children who have hand deformities. In addition, her “Give a Helping Hand” effort raised $4,000 to ensure that kids in need will be able to attend the Shriner Hospital-sponsored Hand Camp next summer. [read more]


The Community Blood Center (CBC) in Kansas City provides 580 units of blood each day to 70 area hospitals. And 20 percent of that blood is contributed at blood drives held at area high schools.

A recent blood drive at Mill Valley High School in Shawnee, Kansas, helped restock the Center’s supply, according to the video.

One hour of a student’s time can save lives in our community, a CBC spokersperson said. “We consider a three-day supply to be a good supply, and we usually hover around a one-day supply,” she added. "About 60 percent of the population is eligible to give, but only about five percent do."

“I always give every time the blood drive comes around,” one student said. “I think it’s a really good thing to do. It saves lives. It’s part of your civic duty.”

In order to encourage high schools to participate, the CBC has created a High School Blood Drive Planning Guide and instituted a Gallon Grad Program that recognizes students who give blood eight times before they graduate. Before a student can participate, his or her parents must complete a Blood Donor Parent Consent Form.

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