Wednesday is a special day for special education students — and their many friends.
It’s “Spread the Word to End the Word” Day. The “word” is “retard” (or “retarded”). The aim is to draw attention to the casual use of that offensive, derogatory term — and end it.
Every year, the Staples chapter of Best Buddies makes a PSA for the day. This year, the group did something — well, special.
Best Buddies fosters 1-on-1 friendships between intellectually and developmentally disabled students, and their classmates. Taylor Harrington — a 4-year member — put her iMovie skills to great use.
She asked “buddy pairs” — who have been matched together based on mutual interests all year long — to help out. “I wanted viewers to see our buddies as people just like them, with their own talents and interests — not ‘that kid in a wheelchair’ or ‘in special ed classes,'” she explains. “Best Buddies focuses on our buddies’ abilities — not their disabilities.”
Everyone was excited to take part. Three students cannot speak. So their iPads were programmed so they could say their lines.
Filming was fun — filled with laughs. Alexander Baumann, a very popular senior, was “so in his element,” Taylor says.
“He was hanging out with his friends, having such a good time.” (He’s the one at the end of the video, flexing his muscles and tickling his buddy Megan Nuzzo.)
Taylor’s buddy is Wyatt Davis. She is thrilled that the video helps other people know “he’s a crazy music lover. He goes to so many concerts with his family. That’s something you wouldn’t know from looking at him.”
The finished product is great. It’s already gotten over 1000 views on Facebook. It’s been shared a lot — even by students not involved with the club.
It will be shown at Best Buddies’ fashion show, silent auction and dinner this Saturday (March 7, 6 p.m., at Staples — all are welcome!)
In the meantime — today, Wednesday, every day — “spread the word to end the word.”
Spread the video, too!
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