Thomas W. Bacchus Elementary
Classes: Trish Barrett's fifth grade
Number of students: 28
Subject: Empathy for the handicapped
The fifth-graders have focused on the needs of a classmate, Miranda D. Pierce, who suffers from a form of muscular dystrophy that confines her to a wheelchair. The 10-year-old is Utah MD Poster Child for 1992. Bacchus students have taken turns in wheelchairs to learn about her challenges and have - so far - raised more than $350 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Location: 5925 S. 5975 West
Students: 938 (year-round)
Number of teachers: 37
Principal: Richard C. Hyland
School district: Granite
The teacher's objective: To help students realize handicapped youngsters need special help and to develop social consciousness.
"We want to help students understand at a personal level how it is to be in a wheelchair," said Hyland. The school first launched a poster campaign to pique interest among children and students, then began a drive to accomplish "eggsactly" what was desired - contributions to the Muscular Dystrophy cause. Children may purchase "eggs" at 25 cents each and at the end of the process, the classes with the largest donations get ice cream parties. The current track in the year-round school has raised more than $900, which will be contributed to the charity organization in special ceremonies April 16.
Miranda raced Hyland through the Bacchus hallways to promote the project. "She could probably beat me four times out of four," said the principal, who is limited to a fast walk, while Miranda can open up her motorized wheelchair to a pretty good clip. "She needs a helmet and flashing lights," he quipped.
Miranda also visited classrooms to talk with Bacchus peers. Though some children were shy to talk about her condition, many asked useful questions that increased their empathy for the handicapped.
The children say: "The most fun I've had is racing Mr. Hyland. I'm glad we're doing something for the MDA. They help me to get my walkers and wheelchairs and braces and everything." - Miranda Pierce.
"It's kind of hard getting up to my computer. I wouldn't want to be in a wheelchair all the time." - Nephi Hardman, who was taking a turn in the chair. "I had to help him. I pushed him." - Matt White, who gave Nephi a hand in manipulating narrow spaces in the Bacchus computer lab. What happens next:
All of Bacchus' year-round tracks will get an opportunity to share in Project Miranda.