Inclusion inhabits Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School

Keira Baerson, Staff Writer

On Sept. 27, Club Inclusion held their first ever in-person meeting. The new club plans to meet every other week to focus on bringing students together. 

 

Inclusion is a vital aspect of our community at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, but it often goes unachieved when students with disabilities are divided from the school community. 

 

“I teach the population of students with disabilities and I see firsthand whether or not [they are] always included, or feel at least included in the school community,” Special Education Teacher Jennifer Doran told The Fanscotian. “So I just think it’s awesome that we have a club that could be more like a social outlet rather than academic based to connect students in both general education and special education.”

 

Juniors Declan Lowery and Gabby Smulewitz are responsible for the creation of this exceptional club. When choosing members for the board, they ultimately wanted students who had a personal connection to others with disabilities. 

It’s hard to get your character across the screen… I think that in-person we get to build a different type of relationship between the members”

— Gabby Smulewitz

Originally, the board was looking for students who could devote an ample amount of time to the club. 

 

“We’re looking for people that are charismatic, but also mature enough to understand these types of situations and to be able to learn from them,” Smulewitz said. “We also want people that can possibly relate to these students on a personal level.” 

 

This year, the club is planning activities that utilize socialization and education. They want students to participate in more hands-on activities that encompass team building. 

 

The board is hoping to gather members more frequently during school hours–that way the club is not just an after-school activity. Members will spend lunch together various times throughout the school year to foster a greater sense of community. 

I just think it’s awesome that we have a club that could be more like a social outlet rather than academic based to connect students in both general education and special education.”

— Jennifer Doran

While the newly formed club did meet a couple of times last year virtually, it was not the same as meeting face-to-face. Students faced technology issues and constantly hid behind their cameras, providing very little participation throughout the meetings. 

 

“It’s hard to get your character across the screen… I think that in-person we get to build a different type of relationship between the members,” Smulewitz said.