Conference showcases exceptional experience

To complement Exceptional Experience Month, which took place in February, the Council for Exceptional Children is working to channel their efforts toward improving the daily experiences of those with special needs.

According to junior Maura Stanczyk, co-chair of CEC's Exceptional Experience Month committee, the council is striving to "offer activities designed to promote understanding and awareness of persons with special needs in our communities."

The month of activity kicked off last Monday with the CEC's 33rd annual conference. Orators this year included Cathy Freytag, Houghton College professor of education; senior Kimberly Neary; sophomore Andrew Smith; senior Juliana White; Chris Hilderbrant, Director of Advocacy at the Rochester Center for Disability Rights; Geneseo education professor Linda Ware; Awilda E. Ramos Zagarrigo, SUNY Buffalo professor of education; and Jack Langerak, keynote speaker and Director of the Rochester Wolf Trap Early Learning Program, who presented "Arts-in-Education for the 21st Century: The Mind Trilogy, The NCLB Backlash and the CEC."

"It was a very successful, enjoyable and informative event," said junior Courtney Horan, who was on the conference committee. "We decided to focus on multiculturalism and the fine arts for this year's conference."

The conference ran from noon until 8:45 p.m. It began with introductions, broke for lunch provided by Campus Auxiliary Services at 1:15 p.m. and concluded with a mock Individualized Education Program meeting.

"[The IEP participants] provided attending students with a demonstration of how an IEP meeting would occur since they each played a different role," said Horan. "Students were therefore able to see the knowledge they learn in their education classes about this process in action."

On Friday of that week, CEC teamed up with KINO to present Murderball, a film about wheelchair rugby. Yesterday CEC cooperated with Xerox seminars to host an autism lecture. "Every Wednesday until March 11 the Xerox seminars will focus on disability," said junior Elizabeth Stanczyck.

CEC will host its annual Wheelchair Basketball Game on Feb. 28. "It costs $2 to come and the game will feature the Rochester Wheels Team versus Sigma Kappa sorority, and possibly Crows fraternity," said junior Maura Stanczyck.

CEC is also looking ahead to future goals. Junior Colleen McNamara, president of CEC, said "We are working with the SUNY Geneseo Chapter of the Genesee Valley Global Friendships to help build a school in Ghana, and thus, promote quality education worldwide."