Mallory McClelland is one of four student board members on the Washington County Board of Education. She is also a senior at Daniel Boone High School.

By MALLORY MCLELLAND

Daniel Boone High School

I am currently a senior at Daniel Boone High School and serve as a student school board member. I’ve had the opportunity to become a peer tutor this year and work with our special needs students. This holds such a special place in my heart because I want to become a teacher and work with kids. Each day I spend the class period working with different students and helping with their class work for the day.

I would be lying if I said it isn’t stressful but the reward is worth it. I think it’s important that we remove the stigma around mental health and people having different needs. Being a peer tutor gives a look into what working with disabilities is really like. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing these kids learn something new and watching it change their confidence. We have fun just like other kids because good experiences help everyone learn.

We recently went bowling for a field trip and it was such a good day! All the teachers and peer tutors were there to cheer the students on. My favorite moment was one of the kids, Gabe, throwing the ball so hard it went into the other lane and got stuck. Right after that he made a strike! Everyone laughed and cheered because of how exciting it was.

I am on the dance team at Boone and we’ve had the opportunity to dance with these students at football and basketball halftime shows. In those moments, I never stopped smiling and having fun with them. The crowd loved the enthusiasm and cheered us on the whole dance. Some of them ask me in class when we’re going to do it again.

What is really important to remember is that there isn’t a typical student. I think a lot of people forget that and need to be reminded. Each student has different needs and requires an approach they can understand. These kids work just as hard as students in regular learning classes. This class is a very rewarding experience for me because I am learning as the students are. I’ve started building relationships that will always be dear to me. I’ll always be grateful for the understanding this class, students, and teachers are giving me my last year of high school.