Leaving the Lighthouse and Becoming a Trojan

By Bella Skinner

No matter the occasion, nothing can interfere with the ritual junior Emma Bryan and her sister Ella Fleming share. Each day, Emma helps feed, medicate, and care for Ella, but the most important part of their day occurs at the very beginning when Ella walks to the bottom of the stairs and waits for Emma so she can give her a hug goodbye. This may seem like a small act, but for the sisters, it is a moment of pure compassion. 

Ella is 7-years-old lives with a rare condition called Ring 21 which is a result of missing genetic information. This causes Ella to face some hardships that the majority of children her age do not.

“When she was born, doctors told us that she probably won’t even be able to sit up,” says Emma. 

Miraculously, Ella has defeated the odds of her condition. 

“Now she’s walking and running and she can say ‘momma,” says Emma

Emma and her Family have credited many of her accomplishments to a school for disabled children called The Little Light House. The Little Light House is run completely by volunteers and donations, and they are completely transparent in communicating with parents about the students’ developments each and every day. 

“[The Little Light House] made my family come closer together.”

Emma and Ella after Ella’s graduation from The Little Light House.

Though Ella has accomplished far beyond what doctors previously anticipated, she still faces many struggles that kids her age would not understand. Ring 21 affects her mobility and speech which has also enabled Emma to adapt and grow in many ways. 

“Comparing myself to people on a daily, I feel more mature because I’ve had to be there for Ella and my mom because there’s a lot of pressure on her every day,” says Emma. 

Because Emma and Ella have such a close bond, it has implemented some fears that Ella may not feel as accepted at Jenks as she did at The Little Light House. Emma is especially worried about when Ella reaches highschool. 

“Children with special needs don’t get asked ‘how is your day’” explains Emma.

To add to this Emma recounts a recurring circumstance that she has witnessed at school. 

Ella and Emma visiting Jenks West Elementary for the first time before she began her first year at Jenks West Elementary.

“There’s this one situation that keeps happening at lunch where I saw a boy with special needs and he sits at different tables every day and one day I saw him sit down at the table and these boys just started laughing and joking.”

It is extremely disappointing to see special needs students not receiving the same treatment as everybody else. Such discrimination is never okay and should be corrected at all Jenks public schools immediately. There are simple ways to fix these issues to help make all of our trojans feel welcomed in the Jenks community. 

“They are normal people just like us,” says Emma. “They should be treated equally and fairly”

By simply saying “hello” or asking how someone’s day is going could make the world to someone, regardless of their disability. It is important for all students to contribute towards making Jenks an accepting environment for all, so take the time to include everyone and see others for who they are.

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