“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.” – Wonder by R.J. Palacio
There was no lack of standing ovations at North Collins Elementary School today. The 5th Grade class, along with their teachers, Mrs. Dintino and Mrs. Ball, read the book ‘Wonder’ earlier in the school year. The students then went to see the movie. Soon after, ‘Choose Kind’ t-shirts were given to the entire school. And today, they had the ultimate experience, a special assembly put on by My Face, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of patients with facial differences. They spoke to the students about facial differences and how they don’t define a person.
They also got to meet and hear from two special guests, Jaimeson and Anderson (Andy) Pleasants, both from Williamsville and both born with different craniofacial syndromes. Anderson was adopted by Lisa Pleasants-Smith, when an adoption agency called her and asked her if she would be interested adopting a little baby with a syndrome similar to her two year old son, Jaimeson. When asked about the adoption, Andy says that his mom never saw it as taking him in. Instead she always saw it as him just being a part of their family.
Andy uses sign language to communicate and his brother Jaimeson is his transalator. During their conversation with the North Collins Elementary students you could see their bond, and also see that Andy was the comedian. He told the students, “This is my normal. When I see myself in the mirror, I’m gonna be honest, I see a good looking man.”
The laughter flowed as well as the tears as these two boys shared their stories of hardships as well as friendships that they have shared over the years. Jaimeson and Andy shared stories and answered questions from the students.
My son Zander is part of 5th grade that started this and all three attended the assembly.
It was humbling. It made me cry…made me laugh… made me hope my kids always choose kind ?
As the students filed out of the gym, they stopped to give Jaimeson and Andy a high five, fist bump, hug, or get a picture taken with them.
I think this assembly will stay with them for a long time, and I hope that when given the chance, they choose kind every time.
**Andy has his own YouTube channel called Andy Signs where you can check out over 100 videos from him. If you want to learn more about MY Face, you can find them HERE.
I wish every parent and child could see this assembly. The organization was from New York City and we only had to pay for their travel here.