Archive for May 20th, 2013


The School is Alive with “The Sound of Music”

The annual talent show is a long-standing tradition at the Pioneer Center. It began around 30 years ago, headed by Cass Stull. Back then, Cass would simply walk around to each room and ask if the students had any special talents they would like to share with the school. Talents ranged from singing and dancing to going incredibly fast on a “sit n’ spin” toy (that performance was unanimously hailed by the audience as “hilarious”).

For the last dozen years, the show has been orchestrated by Kristine Ramsey, Music Therapist at the Pioneer Center. Mrs. Ramsey leveraged her theater and show choir experience to help organize the show. She began incorporating themes, and trying to get every student participating in some way. Themes have included a Michael Jackson Tribute, Music of the Decades, Television Theme Songs, Broadway Musical theme, and a take on the hit show “America’s Got Talent” that showcased a variety of musical acts.

This year, Carol Uhrig suggested doing an actual musical; one of her favorites, “The Sound of Music” was selected. Carol will be retiring at the end of this school year, after serving the students of Pioneer for 35 years. The show was a special sort of send-off for Carol. I spoke with Carol after the performance, asking her what she thought. “It never ceases to amaze me how this school is able to incorporate all of our students’ unique talents,” Carol said.

The students captured the spirit of Pioneer quite well this year and, once again, made it a great success.

Click here to view the performance in its entirety.


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Self-Advocacy Making Strides

The self-advocacy movement for people with disabilities grew out of the civil rights movements of the 1960’s, but in a way, it is quite new. It has evolved along with our country’s understanding and treatment of individuals with developmental disabilities. Self-advocates are individuals who are passionate about speaking up for themselves, their rights, and their independence.

Currently, one of the biggest names in self-advocacy in Ohio is Christine Brown. Christine Brown, Owner of Brown-Cooley Associates in Self-Determination is well known to many in the DD service system. Christine has been advocating for people with disabilities since 1994. She has a passion for advocating change and seeing choices for people with disabilities. She lives in Grandview Heights Ohio in Franklin County and has worked with county boards and the local officials, including the mayor to foster awareness for disabilities issues affecting people in her community.

Recently, Christine visited Ross County, conducting two meetings; one at the Pioneer Center with representatives from the county board’s administration team including Superintendent Rick Marriott, and another with local self-advocates at First Capital Enterprises. Discussions were had about ways to strengthen the self-advocacy movement in our county. A survey was also conducted related to self-advocacy and the efforts of the local People First Chapter.

You can find out more about Christine and Brown-Cooley & Associates by clicking here.

Watch a video collaboration here from SABE 2010 about the self-advocacy and self-determination movement.

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