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April 9, 2012

Students show 'Everybody Can' in contest

Elementary and middle schools throughout Delaware County have joined together to share the message that "Everybody Can."

Students from eight local schools participated in a contest which was hosted by The Arc of Delaware County, an agency whose mission is to help people with disabilities live personally fulfilling lives, and Delta Kappa Gamma, a group of women educators.

This is the second year that The Arc of Delaware County and Delta Kappa Gamma have teamed to sponsor this contest, and more than 20 entries were receive. The students independently researching the topic, creating and entering a project about what they learned using any medium they desired. The students submitted entries that included videos, books, a series of colorful stamps, poems, original music that was performed by the songwriters, a recorded interview with a disabled community member, a PowerPoint presentation, posters and stories.

In addition to receiving monetary prizes for first, second and third place, they were provided scholarships to attend The Arc of Delaware County's "Share, Learn, Grow" mentorship program, an interactive one-day program where people with disabilities serve as mentors to the visiting students.

The students are paired up with people supported by Delarc and they spend the day learning, sharing, and getting to know each other at one of Delarc's facilities.

The grand prize of $500 went to Nancy Gavett's fifth-grade class from Walton Central School. The class completed a Poetry Project inspired by the work of artists with disabilities. Gavett developed a curriculum around the contest. They made a video and presented a description of the process, individual poems written by the students, and a book about the class project. On March 16, an assembly was held and their completed video was shown and prizes were awarded. It was at the assembly the class learned it had won the grand prize.

The second-place winner was Kaylee Gill from Amber Dennis' fifth and sixth grade reading class at Hancock Central School. Kaylee created a PowerPoint presentation showing methods, tools and equipment used by people with disabilities to overcome obstacles, showing that "Everybody Can" do things they want to do.

The third-place winner was Lilliana Bevilacqua, who wrote an essay that about a personal experience with an individual with disabilities and also provided examples of famous people who overcame disabilities and made significant contributions to the world.

Each school that participated in the contest independently selected first, second and third place school winners, which included the following:

Andes Central School: First, Susie Little's Pre-K and Kindergarten class; second, Jordan Ennist and Peter

DePierro; third, Dennis Fickeria III.

Franklin Central School: First, Lilliana Bevilacqua; second, Felix Bridel; third, Tyler Gregory.

Hancock Central School: First, Spencer Layman; second, Juanita Mason; third, Kaylee Gill.

Hancock Elementary School: First, Mrs. Gustin's second-grade class; second, Mrs. Vasconi-Smith's fourth-grade class.

Roxbury Central School-CROP After School Program-8th grade: First, Cara Suess.

South Kortright Central School: first, Bruce Dunkle, Schuyler German, Ed Newman and Brandon Porter; second, Briana Laing, third, Karimah Kahrs and Ariel Perry.

Stamford Central School: First, Deb Mueller's third-grade class.

Townsend Elementary School, Walton: First, Collin Sparling; second, Jose Mirabal; third, Samantha Taddeo.

The winning video as well as other entries from the "Everybody Can" contest on The Arc of Delaware County's website at

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