Photo Of Teacher Who Refused To Leave Student With Disability Behind On Class Trip Turns Heads

In a heartwarming story, an Illinois teacher, affectionately known as “Ms. Helma,” demonstrated unwavering commitment to ensure a 10-year-old student with cerebral palsy, Maggie Vazquez, could join a two-day hiking trip. Ms. Helma’s dedication led her to physically carry Maggie, making the trip inclusive and memorable.

When faced with the challenge of including Maggie in the trip to Camp Sullivan, 40 miles from their Chicago charter school, Academy of Global Citizenship, Ms. Helma’s determination shone. She explored various ideas, but logistical issues ruled them out. Turning to social media, she found a carrier called the Freeloader for taller children like Maggie.

Ms. Helma bought the $300 carrier, allowing around 50 fourth-grade students and 10 school staff to enjoy the camping trip from May 30 to June 1. Carrying Maggie through tough terrain was challenging, but she found inspiration in Maggie’s resilience and joy.

Maggie’s mother, Michelle Vazquez, praised Ms. Helma for going “way above and beyond,” providing unique experiences. The school’s executive director, Sarah Elizabeth Ippel, called Ms. Helma the “epitome of relentless determination.”

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