International Day of Persons with Disabilities: SPFHS Edition


Jordynn Blackwell and Jada Montgomery

Dec. 3 was International Day of Persons with Disabilities but SPF celebrates and encourages students with disabilities daily. 


Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School overflows with compassion for all students. The department works hard to make the student’s dreams of success a reality.  However, an area in our school that doesn’t get recognized enough is the Special Education department. 


Special Education assists students with a wide range of learning disabilities; teachers in the Special Education department make it their mission to help their students make their disability a superpower both inside the school and in the world around them. 


Clubs at SPFHS are inclusive to all students. Particularly, Club Inclusion (or Club Inc. for short) focuses on uniting students with disabilities with others in our school’s community. 


One of the club’s founders, junior Dylan Fei, speaks on the beginning of the club and its activities. 


“We thought that there weren’t enough opportunities for students with disabilities to showcase everything that they can do,” Fei said. “We made this club so that all students could interact with each other and try to form a bond.” 


Suzanne Aguero, a Special Education educator for almost 30 years, shares an anecdote from her first teaching experience at SPFHS.  


“When I first began teaching here, I had a small pull-out-replacement upperclassmen English class,” Aguero said.“I was told they were going to be a tough group. They were not. They just needed to be taught differently. I had a student who didn’t want to write essays but I noticed would write a note to his girlfriend. So I asked, ‘can I make sure there is nothing personal in there? I’ll grade it and that will be your grade.’ In Special Education, [you] find things that connect with the students because it will help them learn.”


Aguero believes that special education students’ potential cannot be understated; the challenges they face are just a road bump on their learning journey, not a red light.


“Any student, no matter what their disability is, can learn to overcome it,” Aguero said. “They can do anything they put their mind to, I don’t care what their disability is. They can do it. It might be harder. It might take a lot. It is all about understanding what helps each student learn best. I truly believe that if any student works hard enough, they can overcome it and be successful.”