On Friday, October 8, the A2 Charter School students taught the students and staff of Jackson Elementary School about the significance and importance of White Cane Day, which is traditionally celebrated on October 15. The message was delivered via the use of songs, speeches and skits that were written and performed by A2 students.
The A2 students first became aware of White Cane Day from fellow student Jackson K. who is visually impaired. Students learned more about White Cane Day, and its significance, from presentations by SASD teacher for the visually impaired, Marybeth Riley, and CESA orientation and mobility specialist, Diane Gafney.
When A2 students discovered that none of the adults they spoke to were aware of Wisconsin's White Cane Law requiring motorists to stop 10 feet away from individuals with white canes wanting to cross the street, they decided to take on the responsibility to inform the students, staff and their families of the law and more.
Students taught their audience about what it means to be visually impaired, the importance of orientation and mobility so those individuals can move around independently, and how to appropriately help someone who does not see well. They also reminded students of the importance of taking care of their vision and not take it for granted.
Under the supervision of A2 teachers, Sandra Spatt and Kathy Nelesen, students wrote the script for the occasion along with an electronic presentation. They created coloring book pages for the younger students, and bookmarks for the older ones that contained messages about White Cane Day. In addition, they made a scene of some of the beautiful things to be seen in Wisconsin, and a "wall of fame" of famous individuals who have made significant contributions to the world even though they had visual impairments.
A2 fifth grader Marcus E composed a song in honor of White Cane Day. He then accompanied the A2 students on the piano as they sang the song for the student body who joined in for the chorus.
Jackson K, who inspired the project, also wrote a poem for the occasion.
White Cane Day has been a national observance since President Lyndon Johnson first proclaimed it in 1964.
A2 Charter School is an SASD charter school that is in its fourth year of operation for self-directed, independent fourth and fifth grade learners. To learn more, visit the A2 website.