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Mead students experience reading with a simulated vision disability

What does it feel like to have a disability? The Margaret Mead Elementary School PTSA wanted students to be able to empathize with their peers who face mobility, learning or other challenges. As part of Disability Awareness Month, they set up a Disability Awareness Fair with eight learning stations.

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“I do things a little differently”: Gabe Murfitt encourages students to have courage


Gabe Murfitt and his service dog visiting a Juanita Elementary kindergarten classroomGabe Murfitt, born with a rare birth defect, is only about 3 feet tall but he has never let that stop him. On Nov. 1, he encouraged students at Juanita Elementary School to show courage and respect, despite struggles they might face. “You are worth it,” he told first- through fifth-graders. “It is so important that you keep pushing forward.”

Before the assembly, Murfitt visited with the kindergarten classes. “I want them to see someone who is different and have a chance to ask their questions. It’s OK to be curious. It’s OK to be different,” he said. Murfitt’s 9-year-old service dog demonstrated how she picks up keys if he drops them. She also showed off her math skills to the delight of students. “Ruthie, what’s one plus two?” Murfitt asked. Three barks followed.

The 26-year-old attended Woodinville High School. “I played basketball in junior high and played drums in the marching band. I just happen to have to do things a little differently,” he said. “We’re all curious when we see someone different. Yes, staring isn’t polite, but it’s OK to go say hi and ask a question.”