Disability Awareness Day strives to promote inclusivity

Peter Edwards, News editor

North’s first Disability Awareness Day (DAD), hosted by students taking the Leadership in Diverse Society class, educated students and staff in a stride towards greater inclusion Wednesday, April 5.

The event featured a presentation from retired English teacher David Ticchi, who detailed his life as a visually impaired person and how his mindset allowed him to achieve success despite his disability, graduating from Harvard University with a doctorate in education. 

“We aimed to educate students on language and behavior towards people with disabilities,” said Manzella. 

The c-block faculty panel included special education teacher Heather Wood, who has Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and history teacher William Joiner, who is hard of hearing. They discussed how people with disabilities experience adversity in daily life, stemming from even well-intentioned people.

“I don’t think anybody has any malicious intent, but there is definitely a level of awareness missing,” said Wood.

The d-block panel featured students from all grades with various disabilities, both mental and physical. According to Manzella, it was important to include this variety as people have different knowledge gaps when it comes to different types of disabilities.

 “There’s a big lack of understanding towards people with physical disabilities,” Manzella added, “People also don’t necessarily believe or understand people with invisible disabilities.” 

Students and faculty both hope for a similar event in the near future. “I’d love to see this become a yearly thing,” said Wood. 

Every year, the class focuses on a project that aims to bring equity, according to senior Sophia Manzella, a student in the course. This year, the theme was disability awareness.