Ms. Randi has a friend that she has known since sixth grade who lives in Edwards, Colorado who came to visit our classroom today. Besides having a friendship with our wonderful Ms. Randi, he is special for many reasons; he is special because he competes each winter in ski competitions, he is a professional public speaker (http://www.zachkorbel.com), and he is a ski instructor. Zach also has cerebral palsy.
Zach was honest with our students when he spoke to them about his life experience, stating “sometimes it is hard to do the things we really want to do, but we find ways to do those things.” He then showed us the many different types of equipment that are available to people who have disabilities including: bowling ramps, prosthetic limbs, hand-cycles, seated water skis, and, on display, Zach’s seated ski for children to examine up close.
Zach then provided the children with an opportunity to ask questions, which ranged from ‘what’s your favorite color?’ to ‘how do you get your groceries?’. Zach reflected on what it’s like to try to do things that normal people do, and the challenges that he has wrestled with and now embraces, because he knows that his disability is “not going away.” In the end, one of our profound thinkers pointed out to Zach that “none of us are normal (H.Q.)”, and children came to understand that we have much more in common with Zach than we have that is different.