Wednesday, March 31, 2021

"Diversity and inclusion are about giving value to every human being, no matter our differences."


                                                    National Catholic Board on Full Inclusion 

I love uplifting stories, especially when they involve students and schools.  A story on the TODAY SHOW has gone viral, and it is so wonderful I have t share and talk about it.

A young man with Down's Syndrome has been the team manager for his school team for 4 years.  On Senior Night, Sam Jordan had the chance to play in the game for his team, Lake Norman High School, against Vance High School.  Sam scored a touchdown, all while being cheered on by both teams, his coaches, his parents, and the entire school.  Here is the link to Sam's interview.   And here is the link to the PEOPLE interview 

I love the lessons in this story.  Sam received a reward for his hard work as team manager for those 4 years, and he felt that beautiful feeling of total inclusion with his participation on the football field.  His teammates and the opposing team had the chance to give a great gift to a young man, and to be a part of something much bigger than themselves. They had the chance to change a young man's life!  What was Sam's reaction?  He said, "It was the best thing that ever happened to me."  

I remember when inclusion first started in schools, since my teaching career began in 1974.  Some parents and students complained initially, but I truly believe that school became a better place when everyone was included.  I loved my students with special needs, and they made me a better classroom teacher and person.  I learned many lessons from those special kids, and so did my "regular" students. 

Inclusion teaches us that everyone has gifts to share, and those gifts are as diverse as the people we are.  The world can be a beautiful place when everyone is included and respected.  I wish I could meet Sam!  What a terrific young man and an uplifting feel-good story!  

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestionsRittman Publishing, LLC ®

Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom or we will come into YOUR classroom via  and a company called GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 and 2018 (new edition) from The Authors' Zone.Grady also won a 2018 prestigious Moonbeam Award for Best Children's Book with Merchandise.

Visit Dede's web page for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37
years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out! 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at  The website now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!
 Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. 

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