Teachers and staff recognized by students with disabilities

Advocates nominated for going above and beyond

Disabilities of any kind can hinder progress in a classroom and make school life difficult, but luckily there are teachers out there willing to put in the time and effort it takes to ensure a student’s success.

Seven teachers and faculty members were nominated by their students as Disabilities Advocates of the Year at the third annual ceremony Oct. 28 in the Harvin Center. Students were invited to nominate teachers and write a note along with the nomination describing how the teacher has helped them.

“It’s important to give students an opportunity to voice opinions about an instructor, about how they’ve been able to go past their barriers, about who treats them like any other student,” said Brenda Garcia, student disability specialist. “That extra help is a big deal.”

That extra help is something that some students don’t always get as not every teacher is willing to go the extra mile for a disabled student. When a teacher and student work together for success, it can be rewarding on both sides.

“I got a little emotional,” said teacher Neetu Kanshik. “It means a lot to me. I didn’t expect such an honor. Students put in a lot of effort and we’re just complementing that, but when they get good grades and a degree, I feel like I’ve achieved something along with them. I tell them, ‘I’m not giving up on you,’ and I think that motivates them.”

Del Mar offers help to students with physical and mental disabilities, offering personal assistance if needed and also accommodations in classrooms. Students can have notes taken by other classmates and work with tutors for that extra help with understanding.

“Students are an investment that truly pays off,” said Gail Dorn, paralegal studies instructor. “Sometimes you recognize their abilities but they don’t, and you just need to bring to the surface a realization that they can do the things they don’t think they can. I don’t really feel like I go out of my way, I just do what’s right. That’s what we’re here for.

In addition to Kanshik and Dorn, Benita Flores-Munoz, Randal Glasson, Dale Anderson, Charles Hinton and Paul McCann were honored for their work.

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