Disabilities in the Classroom

For my research paper my audience was written towards parents of students. While repurposing my writing, I found that the Google Site would be the best choice to best get my point across. The creativity of the Google Slide is what drew me to use this type of genre for this specific audience because I feel that colorful and creative presentations are the most interesting and eye catching for students.

My research paper was on diversity in schools. I focused mainly on the mental and physical disabilities and how they are accommodated in classrooms. I felt that when repurposing my writing, I was able to get my point across easier by adding pictures and graphics. It added a more creative element that my research paper lacked.

While altering the text so that the audience of my paper was towards students not parents, I felt that I did not need to change too much. I felt that adding my own opinion was necessary to connect with the intended audience. Although my intended audience for this genre was students, I felt that the material would be best appreciated by an educator. I chose to email my Google Site to Christina Kaplan, a current educator and mother of students in Loudoun County.


College Applications

While reading the blog posts of other students, I was trying to spark an idea into my mind of what I should write my last blog post about. I can’t help but notice that a majority of the blog posts are about college applications. As I know, college applications are incredibly stressful and very tedious. Filling out form after form and possibly writing multiple essays and personal statements is dreadful. Although personally, and I say this with caution, college applications were simple in my case. Yes, the common application was incredibly dreadful as I had to fill out every, single, grade that I had gotten since the start of high school. But I understand this is what every senior that plans to attend college is doing at this moment. Months prior to filling out any sort of application, I had visited multiple schools. Some of which included James Madison University, Mary Washington, and West Virginia. While each of these schools were great in their own way, one of the schools I just could not get out of my mind. I could only picture myself at West Virginia. Something about it was magnetizing to me and I felt so at home even while just being there for a few hours. While filling out applications, I tried to keep other schools in mind and continued to look into other schools such as CNU and ECU, but every school just did not feel the same as West Virginia did. After sending in my application for WVU, I was pleasantly surprised to hear back in less than three weeks. As I saw that I had received an email from them, I thought this would just be another ordinary email telling me to keep them in mind. To my surprise a big banner with the words “welcome home Grace” appeared on the screen. Not only was I ecstatic to have found out I got into my first school I had ever applied to and that it was my number one choice, I had found out in the beginning of October! Yes, college applications are stressful and overwhelming, but I could not be more grateful for my experience.

Senior Night

As I heard my name being called, holding my parents hands, walking onto the field, I couldn’t help but smile bigger than ever. I have waited for this moment all four years being on the cheerleading team. It may seem silly to be looking forward to something so insignificant for so long, but as I ask my fellow senior teammates if they felt the same, I knew I would get the response that I received. Out of the six seniors, four of us have been on the varsity cheerleading team since freshman year. So this night not only meant a lot to us seniors, but to our parents who have spent countless hours and thousands of dollars in order for us to be on this team throughout high school. While waiting for my name to be called, I got the same feeling that I would get before going out to compete. No, this short walk from the football field to the track was not nearly as rigorous as a competition is, but the nerves were high as I waited to hear my name called. I was ecstatic when the words “Grace Stickley plans to attend West Virginia University to study early childhood development.” I had cheered for each and every senior, year after year, as they would walk onto the track with beaming smiles. I do not know why, but it did not hit me that I would one day be the senior with a beaming smile walking down the field. Although senior night seems like such a simple gesture to honor the seniors, but the dedication and commitment that we have put into a sport for so long, deserves some recognition.


As I walked into the doors of Heritage High School for tryouts my freshman year, I truly did not anticipate how much this sport would impact my life. Even though cheerleading is only in season for about three months of the nine that we are in school, those two hour practices almost everyday during those three months, become crucial in order to make sure our routine is perfected when we step on the mat for competitions. Although the cheer team often gets the short end of the stick when it comes to the recognition we deserve, we continue to strive to be our best and work our absolute hardest in order to succeed. Often times, it seems as if people think cheerleading is just jumping up and down on the sideline of the football field, cheering on our football team, game after game after game. Yes, even though we do enjoy supporting our school and cheering on the football team, it begins to get tiresome when cheerleading gets little to no recognition despite the countless hours of practice that we have and rigorous competitions that we prepare for.

“Cheerleading is not a sport.” Is what we hear constantly from our peers or even other athletes. I am not sure what the definition of an athlete is, but I know that we work just as hard as most sports do to make sure that we succeed. As I am throwing a person into the air while they are doing flips or spinning their bodies in the two seconds that they have up in the air, all that is going through my mind is, “how could someone ever think this is not a sport?” Even though my athletic career as a Heritage High School cheerleader may be over, I will never forget the hard work and dedication that I put into this sport for four years.


I never thought I could be so happy to be woken up at 3 in the morning to the sound of my alarm. To make it out the door with six family members frantically packing bags at the last minute, is harder than it sounds. I cannot imagine how my parents felt when we were little trying to do this all themselves. My sisters ordering the uber, my dad getting everything squared away for the dog sitter, my mom finishing putting all her shoes in her bag, and my brother and I trying to stay out of the way of everyone. Finally 6 am arrived, and we were through security, and waiting in the terminal to board the plane. Sitting next to my oldest sister, I looked out the window as we approached the island. Crystal clear water surrounded the tiny island of Aruba. When we all got off the plane, we were hit with an overwhelming amount of humidity. Frantic travelers trying to make sure their bags arrived safely filled the baggage claim as all six of us panicked to stay together. In all the insanity of the airport, we seemed to forget that we were in Aruba! 

We finally got our bags and got the rental car loaded up with all of us having to squeeze into four seats. As we arrived to the house, we were greeted with a beautiful ocean view that seemed to mesmerize all of us. Throughout the week, we went to beachside dinners, saw many donkeys and stray dogs on the side of the road, and had full days of relaxing on the beach. It was incredible to me to see the cultural difference in Aruba. Unlike the United States, Aruba has many stray dogs and the lifestyle was very relaxed. I will forever remember this trip and the countless memories I have made with my family.

High School Artifact

When asked to bring in an artifact from my entire high school experience, one thing came to mind. My past four years on the cheerleading team. I had to bring an object that reflected my hard work and dedication to this sport. Not only has cheerleading been such a huge part of these past four years in high school, the people involved in it have molded me into the person I am today. When I first tried out to be on the team my freshman year, I walked in the doors of a brand new school, excited to embark on a new journey. I had very low expectations for myself. I never would have thought that I would have made varsity my freshman year despite my past cheerleading experience. Throughout my freshman year, I had made friends on the team that I would not have met otherwise. I have always loved being a “leader” for my school. It was very intimidating when the former seniors, who were on the team my freshman year, would tell us that we represented the school and that the actions we made had an effect on the schools reputation. Because of this, I have worked hard to project a positive and caring attitude towards others, despite all of the stress high school can put on you. When I think about these past years on this team, I cannot help but think of the dedication and commitment it takes in order to succeed. As I reflect on the past four years being on this team I am incredibly grateful to have had the experiences that I have had, and it has been incredible to see how far we have come in four years. 

Organic Object Journal Entries

People often succumb to the way society ¨is supposed to look.¨ They do not want to be hurt or bruised or damaged. They want to fit it. To be normal. Not only should parents want to protect their children of these societal norms, it is necessary for them to. Children can become so used to constantly comparing themselves and judging themselves based on things they see on social media. Whether it be an advertisement, or just photos that they come across, these ¨societal norms ̈  chip away at one’s self- esteem and self confidence. Like that of an apple, parents are like the thin layer of skin that protects the vulnerable and delicate part of the apple that is the child. There is such a fine line between how much parents can control what their child is exposed to. Just like the apples skin that is so thin, so fragile, so delicate. 

Covered in bumps and bruises, mold begins to protrude out of an old, beat up, worthless apple. No sane human would even think to grab something so harmed and damaged. Or would they. What if there was no sign of any destruction to the apple on the outside? A perfect red, shiny, flawless apple. But the second you take a bite out of it, the inside is filled with bruises, and mold, and no sign of what existed there before was present. So why not treat a human the same way? What if all disabilities were invisible to the naked eye? Why not look at someone who has a disability and not judge? Just like an apple, there is no way to tell what someone is truly like on the inside.


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