Spotlight on Autism Awareness

Smurfette, Guidance Counselor Jessica Stringer and the Avon Eagle.

The Avon Local Schools have a long history of supporting Autism Awareness Month and this year the students and staff once again stepped up.

As the month came to a close on Friday, April 28, a special assembly took place at Avon Heritage Elementary School from 1 to 2 p.m.

During that time, Mayor Bryan Jensen presented a special proclamation regarding Autism Awareness Month.

A special check presentation also took place wit

h representatives from Milestones Autism Resources (http://milestones.org). The district has been raising funds throughout the month for the local organization.

Avon Heritage Elementary Principal Jason Call (left) with Milestones Autism Resources team and this year’s record breaking donation check.

Last year, a check was presented for $10,451. The district expected even more money to be donated this year and the amount did not disappoint as the total reached $12,003!

Students in all grades throughout the district participated in fundraising efforts through designated themed dress-up days and brought in money reflective of the day, like Pennies for PJ’s (wear pj’s if you bring pennies), Neon Nickel day (wear neon), Dazzling Dimes day (dress up in your best), Quirky Quarters day (wear silly clothes, hats) and Light it up Blue Friday ($1). T-shirts were also sold and other individual fundraisers were held throughout the district.

Examples of how awareness was raised throughout the district included a door decorating contest at Heritage, and autism facts read on the daily announcements by students with autism. The cafeteria at Heritage even served blue jello.

During the assembly on Friday, several teachers were ‘rewarded’ with pies in the face for reaching certain dollar amount contributions raised by students.

Building principals Jason Call and Tim Rickard participated in a hysterical “dance-off” and ther fun activities engaged the students.

Pie for Teacher!

The schools also had a special day when students and staff were encouraged to wear blue and donate $1 which helped towards the fundraising goal. The community was encouraged to purchase blue light bulbs from Home Depot and show support by lighting up homes/businesses blue.

Outside Heritage Elementary, a metal puzzle display has been erected, donated by Affiliated Metal Industries Inc. of Olmsted Falls. The owners of the company have children in the school district. The display has a blue light spotlight shining in the evenings. On a nationwide level, the Puzzle Piece symbol reflects the mystery and complexity of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Also, since every puzzle piece is different in some way, a puzzle piece accurately represents the diversity of the individuals affected.

Heritage Guidance Counselor, Jessica Stringer, spearheaded much of the efforts throughout the school/district.

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