Classroom for special needs students teaches importance of helping others

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A multiple disabilities classroom at one Youngstown high school is branching out to help the community.

Even though the students in room 345 at Chaney High School learn differently than their peers, there is no shortage of compassion or smiles — things they’ve learned from their teachers.

“We always joke and say that our classroom is just one happy bubble. It’s our own little world in there and then when you step out, you might get a couple, you know, negative things, whatever, but back into our room,” said room 345 teacher Allyson Morici.

Morici and Sarah Such are teachers in the high school’s multiple disabilities classroom.

“I think Ms. Suchie and Ms. Emmy are the best people because they do a lot for us kids,” said tenth grader Justine Pletcher.

Pletcher says her teachers have taught her so much, especially this year, when the class did a service project for the community every month.

“I learned how people need help when other people don’t help them,” Pletcher said.

In April, the students spent the month making blankets for dogs at the Mahoning County Dog Warden’s office.

“We work on our best to make blankets because we care about the dogs,” said ninth grader Joenishia Fields.

Ninth grader Belinda Smeltzer said the project makes her happy.

The students have done projects like serving coffee from a classroom cart and celebrating women during March by writing letters.

“They’re learning a lot about empathy, really, how to communicate better, building a lot of communication skills, a lot of functional driving skills, as well as building those relationships with others in the community,” Such said.

“I learned helping people out is like a great help and I make them smile,” Pletcher said.

Both teachers say being kind and helpful to others is something they implement in the classroom daily. They hope others treat their students with the same kindness.

“They are people, that’s first and foremost, they have feelings just like every other high school student. They go through all the things that regular high school students go through and they just might react a little bit differently,” Morici said.

As far as the service projects go, Morici says their reaction is always excitement and happiness.

“345 is just one happy, bubbly… and they’re just always so appreciative and full of life and, you know, just, they’re just such great kids to be around,” Morici said.

On Friday, the class will have a day of pampering before being escorted to prom. Morici says she can’t wait to see their smiles as they walk the red carpet.

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