One crazy sock at a time
March 31, 2017
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Cathedral Catholic High School student and Options mentor Olivia Firsching ‘18 leaped for joy when she heard CCHS was joining global efforts to support people affected by Down syndrome and autism.
“I think wearing crazy socks was a smart way to raise awareness for Down syndrome because it’s something simple everyone can do,” Firsching said. “I don’t know a single person that doesn’t own at least one crazy pair of socks. Down syndrome is close to home for a lot of Dons.
“This was a nice and widespread way to demonstrate our care for people affected by it.”
CCHS celebrated World Down Syndrome Day last week by encouraging students to sport the craziest socks in their dressers in support of students at CCHS and other schools who are affected by the genetic, chromosomal disorder. According to the National Down Syndrome Society, the disorder impacts 400,000 people in the U.S.
Ms. Anne Pickard, CCHS director of marketing and communication, initiated the idea of celebrating World Down Syndrome Day and World Autism Day.
“I heard it was World Down Syndrome Day, and since we are an inclusive school, I went to Mr. Caulkins and asked if we could wear crazy socks,” Mrs. Pickard said. “He said it was a great idea, and we did it.”
Options teacher Mrs. Adriana Pehl also appreciated the school’s support of her students.
“I think it’s great that the school was able to do this and raise awareness for students we have on this campus,” Mrs. Pehl said.
However, Options mentor Daniel Robinson ‘17 thought the event could have been handled differently.
“I am honestly not really sure if people know what the socks were even for,” Robinson said. “I think people need visuals and numbers to be more aware and exposed to people with disabilities. Adding an assembly would be really cool and effective.”
According to Robinson, one minor detail regarding the announcement and name of the celebratory day required more effort in relating it to the cause rather than branding it as “Crazy Sock Day.”
“I think the wording of crazy sock day was a little weird and insensitive, but the whole idea around it was in the right place,” Robinson said.
Option mentor Joaquin Martinez ‘18 believes something was off about the wording of the message, but he stressed that the most important part was the positive support behind the name.
“Well, I personally do not think having the day called ‘Crazy Sock Day’ was sensitive,” Martinez said. “However, if controversy was to arise because of the chosen name, we should change the name to “Silly Sock Day”. It is important to focus on the meaning of this rather than the name of it.”
Ms. Pickard addressed that the wording was offensive, and the idea was to bring awareness to World Down Syndrome Day.
“The word ‘crazy’ in Crazy Sock Day is coming from the organization on a national level,” Ms. Pickard said. “It was not something we came up with by ourselves. If someone was offended by the word, it wasn’t [the national organization’s] intention.”
Firsching believes the CCHS student body is smart enough to know what was really meant by “Crazy Sock Day.”
“People know that those affected by Down Syndrome just have developmental delays and disabilities and that they’re not crazy,” Firsching said. “And crazy socks have always been called crazy socks. I think it’s something that can grow in the coming years.”
Putting all of the hiccups aside, the most important aspect about this event is how the CCHS community came together to support students and students all around the globe who are afflicted by this disorder, Firstling said.
In addition, this awareness day will pave the way for future events and issues CCHS supports.
“What I found truly spectacular about our crazy sock day is that it was a way for all of the students to come together as one to support something so important,” Martinez said. “This is what Cathedral is all about…community and love.”
Ms. Pickard strives to reiterate the point was to spread support and love for CCHS students living their lives with these disorders.
“Just being an inclusive school with our Options program, I think we need to be aware that we all come from different places, but we are all loved by God and our community,” Pickard said. “It’s good to raise awareness and to support people’s differences.”