Options students survive month to remember
November 18, 2016
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As the fall season swings into full gear and Thanksgiving break nears, students in the Cathedral Catholic High School Options Program are still dizzy from October’s festivities, which included activities ranging from pumpkin carving to buddy walking.
“Here at Cathedral I am very fortunate to be part of the options team,” CCHS student Kris Taylor ’17 said. “I love the enjoyment it brings me, but this October was extra fun for all of us.”
The Options Program provides students with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to become part of the Cathedral Catholic community by participating in general education classes and campus activities.
In addition, a peer mentor program is utilized to help aide in this path of inclusion. The students organized the whole month of October and its spooky activities for the Options children.
“Being part of the Options Program has truly had an influence on my experience at Cathedral,” CCHS student Sofia Marroquin Laborin 17′ said. “I am fortunate to have been involved within the pumpkin carving this year. It was my favorite because I loved the enjoyment that it brought to the children this year, even though we made a mess.”
The Options program consists of 60 student mentors, a combination of both juniors and seniors. The Buddy Walk is a major fundraising event for children with Down syndrome. Cathedral recently took part and many of the students volunteered to be there.
Besides the pumpkin carving and buddy walk, Options students and mentors also organized the Winnie-the-Pooh-themed Trunk or Treat event, where participants played games to win candy, Options teacher Adriana Pehl said.
“I danced with some of the children and they showed me their dance moves,” Laborin said. “I also had a go on the wheel of spin, where you can win a prize. I won a Frisbee.”
The fall festivities have been different and overall more fun than previous years for the children as the families felt more included and as a community at Cathedral came together to celebrate, Director of Academic Support Megan Burton said.
A mentor and Options student relationship is extremely beneficial. The relationship is not strictly just academic; many of the relationships grow into great friendships.
“I’ve known my friend Thomas Breen since he was a freshman and I was a sophomore,” Lusti ‘17 said. “I currently help him out in his 7th period in Academy. He is like a brother now to me and a great friend, and he’s told me that I’m like a big sister to him.
“It’s great to see how much he has grown academically, socially, and spiritually over the past years. He is truly an inspiration.”
The next major upcoming event for the Options Program in coordination with the Options Club will be the Autism Walk in April.
But first there is still the little matter of December.
“We have more events coming up that this time will spread the Christmas spirit,” Lusti said. “Details will be revealed closer to the time.”