JOY THROUGH ART … Students from New Horizons Academy stand at the Fulton County Humane Society with art work that each student worked on before it was displayed on a wall inside the building. Names provided are given from left to right. Diane Scherer, Anne Deffenbaugh, Ava Keim, Michael Stark, Josiah Acevado, Rebekah Myers, Carter Radzik, Jonathan Brink, Tammy Taylor. (PHOTO BY JACOB KESSLER, STAFF)
By: Jacob Kessler
Located in Wauseon at 220 Lawrence Avenue, New Horizons Academy at Sara’s Garden is a home for the area’s special education students. The academy represents 150 students from over 20 different school districts from Pioneer to Evergreen and more.
The Academy’s student population is currently made up of around 80% of children with some form of autism. The other 20% is made up with children who have disabilities such as an orthopedic impairment, down syndrome, traumatic brain injury or in many cases multiple handicaps.
It is an education center made up with amazing kids who are able to come out of their shell more than ever according to Executive Director Matt Rychener.
“These are amazing kids here at New Horizons Academy. We have a lot of different disabilities we work with all year round.”
“We try to help them come out of their shell as much as possible and with everything we see, these kids are able to do so much more than most people give them credit for and it is really neat to see.”
On Thursday, March 24th some of those students traveled to the Fulton County Humane Society which is now located at 22450 County Road F in Archbold.
The Humane Society had previously contacted schools in the area to see if students would be interested in providing art work to hang up in the new building.
Tammy Taylor, a teacher at New Horizons, was given the project to work on with students to see if they were interested in making art work for the building.
The students were excited to create their art work and have it put in the building. They each started working on designs by sketching out what they wanted to paint on paper. The drawings were submitted to the Humane Societies Board who liked the drawings.
Once word was received that the designs were a go, the children got to work with finalizing their artwork with the whole project being finalized in a couple weeks.
“The students were really excited to be involved with this project. They were excited to work on the art work and to come present it to the Humane Society,” said Tammy Taylor.
Once at the Humane Society, the students were provided pizza and pop from the local Marcos Pizza restaurant before then getting a tour of the building, and time to play with the animals.
The art work given to the Humane Society was put up on the wall before students left so they could see their work put on display.
On February 26th, 1987, President Ronald Reagan officially declared March as National Disabilities Awareness Month. The proclamation called for people to provide understanding, encouragement and opportunities to help people with disabilities to lead productive and fulfilling lives.
The month of March is about the raising of awareness for the support and rights of people with disabilities and the celebration of their contributions to our communities and society.
We close out March with a celebration for those with disabilities, their contributions to society, and future contributions that will be made.
While March may be a month of awareness, we should ensure that we remain aware through out every other month and day of the year as well.
Jacob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org