It's taken just two years for a new program at Normal Community High School to blossom into becoming one of the best in the state.
Best Buddies pairs disabled students with their able-bodied classmates for activities in and out of school. Adviser Angie Cardiff said nearly 30 disabled students are paired with another student and get to take part in activities in which they might not otherwise be included.
"It makes their day, it brightens their day, it gives them the biggest smile on their face just to say ‘hi’ to their friends in the hallway at school,” Cardiff said. “They get so excited when they know it’s a day when there’s a Best Buddies event at the end of the day.”
Cardiff said the program helps all students feel included, but also offers an educational benefit.
“I think that engagement and that connection makes everybody a better student,” Cardiff said. “They feel better maybe about walking into the building and that’s going to lead to just an all-around better day, a better student, a better education.”
The state Best Buddies chapter recognized NCHS as its Outstanding Chapter of the Year from about 100 chapters statewide. About 40 general education students help on a regular basis.
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