I instantly thought that my sister could help. She is a teacher at East Hamilton Middle/High School, the largest school in Hamilton county. Michelle arranged for Jenny to speak to the ENTIRE middle school. We are talking one thousand plus students. What an awesome opportunity!!
The week before Jenny was to arrive, she called me in a panic. There was an issue with her transportation to Chattanooga and she now had no way to get here!! I have been working with Jeromy at Mobility Works in Chattanooga about acquiring my own transportation. I knew if anyone could help last minute, Jeromy could.
I called Jeromy and explained the situation to him. Without hesitation, he said no problem I will send my driver Steve to pick her up in Huntsville and bring her to Chattanooga....and all at NO CHARGE!!! I was so excited I could have done cartwheels across the floor (well, not really, but you get the point).
Just as promised Steve picked Jenny and Carmen up this morning in Huntsville and dropped them off at East Hamilton.
We started off with a tour of the school given by three high school students. East Hamilton is HUGE and super nice. We toured the middle and high school, looked in on the media center (it was called the library back in my day) and the band room and stopped to chat with the choir class.
We finished up back at Michelle's room for lunch. Her and Margay fixed all kinds of homemade yummies for us. Michelle thought of everything. The table was decorated in red, white, and blue for Ms Wheelchair America. Michelle tried to get some rhododendrons (Washington's state flower) for the table but since they weren't in season, Margay was out late one night with a flashlight gathering pine cones. Jenny and Carmen went home with a bag of Moonpies since they are made locally here in Chattanooga. There was also a pic of Jenny and me from the MWA pageant. Jenny and Carmen really enjoyed our southern hospitality. (I told you Michelle thought of everything!!)
After lunch, Jenny went downstairs for a special visit with the CDC kids. They thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Jenny. Michelle and I headed to the gym to finalize all the details for Jenny's speech with the middle school students.
At one o'clock, the kids began pouring into the gym. They kept coming and coming!! I was so proud of my home town and my sister and her school for so graciously hosting MWA. I knew what a positive impact Jenny would have on these kids. I was blown away when the PTA president came in with a gift and a donation check for Jenny and the Ms Wheelchair America organization. So thoughtful!!
Jenny's presentation was absolutely wonderful! She shared her life story with the students and told about all the struggles and triumphs she has endured along the way. Jenny spoke about what a great experience elementary school was for her. She also shared that the same was not true for her middle and high school years. Other kids picked on her and spoke unkind words to her. As hard as these years were for her, she has had much better years since high school. College was a fabulous experience where the other students embraced and encouraged her.
Jenny told the students at East Hamilton that words have power. I hope each student was able to walk away from today knowing that their words could build someone up or tear someone down. I think Jenny made them realize the right choice is to use your words to build someone up. After the program, everyone wanted to have their picture made with Ms Wheelchair America.
Thank you so much East Hamilton for welcoming my friend Jenny Adams, Ms Wheelchair America!! Thank you Jenny for coming back to Chattanooga!! Thank you my sweet sister, Michelle Bettis for making today happen!! Thank you Margay McGee for helping with all the details today!! Thank you so much Jeromy and Steve from Mobility Works for getting Jenny from Huntsville to Chattanooga and back to Huntsville!!