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Change happens where you least expect it

Cordell Capritta

At my school, there is a 10th grade student named Ricky. 

Ricky is mentally disabled and has difficulty speaking. His classmates like to laugh at him, and for the most part Ricky is a good sport about it and laughs along. 

The first thing I noticed about Ricky when I started teaching his class was that, even though he has difficulty saying things, his understanding and grasp of languages is amazing. He is incredibly smart and understands things on a different level than the other students. 

I started to thoroughly like, respect and appreciate Ricky the more I got to know him. I encouraged him in class and simply acted as a friend outside of class, as well. I would eat lunch with him at the canteen and chat with him in the halls. I also gave him strong encouragement to join English club on Wednesday afternoons. 

While previously extremely shy and hesitant to speak, Ricky is now one of the most vocal and excited kids in my club. He is a class favorite. Other students are now laughing with him, instead of at him. 

While not my original intent, simply paying attention to Ricky has given him immense confidence and changed the way my school views him. And the most touching thing for me was last week when he excitedly ran up to my desk after class and said, "Mr. Cordell, my mom would like to invite you to dinner." 

It's the little things that matter and change happens where you least expect it.