School Friendship: Hickory High School
“Growing up as a military brat I never understood why certain people were persecuted for being unique. Every person I have ever encountered has been unique in their own individual way. At my old school, I had the ability to meet the most unique person ever! His name was Phil. He is currently a senior with down syndrome, who has conquered homecoming court not once, not twice, but three times within his high school career! And although persecution was not the case for Phil at my old school, it is for many who have IDD. It is a gift that I have the ability to be involved in such an amazing program!
I hope my chapter will open the eyes of people with flawed perceptions of people with IDD, as well as I hope it will allow for a more accepting environment inside and outside of school grounds. At my current school, bullying, teasing, and harassment can often go unnoticed due to the immense size of my school’s student body. The use of the R-word is very common and is used to not only “joke around”, but also used to isolate high functioning students with IDD. The new Best Buddies chapter at my school will allow us to create opportunities to spread the word to end the word, with intent to make the usage of the R-word a very uncommon occurrence inside and outside of the school grounds. This chapter will also allow students with IDD to attend a safer learning environment in which the idea of inclusion is embraced by students, rather than bullying, teasing, and harassment.”
– Branham Channell, CP, about opening Best Buddies at Hickory High School in Chesapeake, VA