November 2017 Columns: Expanding scope by accepting disabilities, recognizing other holidays


After witnessing Down Syndrome Month and the lack of spreading awareness I saw, I paid more attention to the ways students with disabilities are treated at SHS.

From Adaptive P.E. classes to the TIP House that prepares students (until age 21) for living on their own, SHS tailors classes to meet all types of students while assuring that no student is left out of integrated classes.

Further, some students are friendly or just nice peers. The point is more than awareness: it is being there and helping change the mindset towards students with special needs, who should be treated by peers as fellow students.

But, in October, I heard little about Down Syndrome Month. I saw minimal spreading of awareness– maybe I did not search hard enough for it, but is it not the point to reach out to all people and tell them about Down Syndrome?

One in every 700 babies are born with Down Syndrome in the U.S., according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The “Anything But Sorry” push by the Canadian Down Syndrome society reports that 9,363 babies in North America where born with Down Syndrome this year.

Are all students aware of that? Are most students aware of all that happens at SHS for students with disabilities and how they can get involved?

SHS is more equipped in opportunities than most schools, which is saddening as many institutions cannot provide for the extra needs these students require.

But, can SHS students help spread awareness in the community?

I know that they can, with any person with any disability: there is TIP House student teaching (through TPA), volunteering through PEERS speech classes, but most of all just being a kind peer.

No matter how much we try to promote inclusion, it is students that must make the true difference.


As the holiday season quickly approaches, presents are bought, homes are decorated, and more importantly, movies are watched.

The Christmas movie is a huge phenomenon that captivates people on their couches to watch “25 Days of Christmas” on Freeform.

While I love Christmas movies, especially “Elf,” and I am still waiting to see “Bad Moms Christmas,” I am quite puzzled that there are not many Hanukkah movies.

There are a few Hanukkah television episodes like on “Friends” (“The One With The Holiday Armadillo”) and “The Goldbergs” (“A Christmas Story,” which is really about Super Hanukkah).

But in my opinion, I believe that there should be Hanukkah movies that are released just like Christmas ones.

Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen are both Jewish directors that could choose from a long list of Jewish actors and actresses such as Adam Sandler or Scarlett Johansson.

Yet when you Google search Hanukkah movies, only three appear, with the most recent one being in 2003.

Mila Kunis, who is starring in “Bad Moms Christmas” is Jewish. This movie could have very well been “Bad Moms Hanukkah,” but let us be realistic here.
When talking about this with others, multiple people have said that those movies will not make enough money because they are not focused at the main target audience.

The Jewish population is not the biggest, but it is greater in states like New York and New Jersey, and a movie can definitely find viewers in those places.

I am certainly acknowledging that Christmas is a very big holiday in the US, and when I was little I even had a Santa hat, but now that I am older I have come to the realization that Christmas is not the only holiday that should be featured in entertainment.