Speaking in front of 1,700 people is nothing new for me, but speaking at the Atlanta Capitol and getting a chance to meet our state leaders was new. The 11th Annual Disability Awareness Day took place on February 25, 2009 and I was invited to be the keynote speaker and share my story with the community. It was another reminder to those who don’t live with a disability to not forget us. Money, education, and awareness is still necessary for those with disabilities.
As I told the legislators, I was honored to be the voice of so many who can’t always speak for themselves. Writing my book and movie, Front of the Class, has given me a chance to speak out for so many. I also explained that I live with Tourette Syndrome not thinking that I have a disability. It is others who look at me and think I can’t do certain things and think I have a disability. This is where education comes into play as we must give everyone a chance to prove they can do it rather than giving up on people too quickly.
When was the last time your advocated for something you believe in? Have you ever spoken to your government officials about something you feel strongly about? What I do know is that everyone has a voice and I hope some day when you feel passionate about a topic, that you have a chance to express your views to help make a difference in your life and the life of others.
What an amazing experience Nancy and I had as we were invited to the White House one week after the movie aired on CBS. We had a chance to meet President George W. Bush and Laura Bush. They were both very nice. They had not seen the movie yet, but George knew all about me as he screamed out as I approached, “I’m looking for that inspirational elementary school teacher.” I guess he heard the noises I was making! He gave both Nancy and me hugs and then took a picture with us. I’m not real happy about him having his hands all over Nancy, but I’ll get over it!
Click here to see pictures from the event: Dominic Scott Kay (pictured), Tom Rickman, Brent Shields, Andy Gottlieb, and Cameron Johann all in attendance repsenting Front of the Class.
We have officially learned that Front of the Class didn’t win the Faith and Freedom Award. That award was given to John Adams and The Medal. But we did win a special award which was not on the program for Outstanding Movie About a Disability. Members of the team got up to speak at the ceremony!
Did your class watch the movie, Front of the Class? Did your class read the book, Front of the Class? Did a group of teachers from your school read, Front of the Class? Are you a future teacher who read, Front of the Class?
If so, you might be interested in writing Brad Cohen? If you write Brad, he will read it! Brad will also try his hardest to respond to your email. Brad has gotten thousands of emails and wants to communicate with the public. Because Brad continues to teach and travel around the United States, his time is limited.
If your groups wants to communicate with Brad, it is asked that you compile all of your comments and questions into one email. If you’d like to send Brad snail mail, please email him for the best address.
If you want Brad to sign your book, he can either send you a signed copy or you can send him your book with a SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope).
If you are emailing Brad because you are doing a report on Tourette Syndrome or on Brad, please don’t procrastinate and ask Brad to respond in one day to your questions. Brad HIGHLY RECOMMENDS for you to read his book prior to emailing him questions. Many of the questions you will be asking can be found in his book. After you’ve read the book, Brad will be happy to fill in the gaps and clarify anything you want to help you get an “A” or write the best paper possible. This is why Brad wrote the book. He knows he can’t be everywhere all the time and the book/movie helps educate others about his story.