Adrian Ayala, a sixth grader at Brown Elementary School, doesn’t see himself as a kid with a disability. Since Adrian was a baby he has suffered from a severe loss in vision, leaving him almost completely blind.
“If you were to meet Adrian several years ago, you would see him as an angry, reserved student who had trouble socializing with the rest of his classmates,” said Principal Jeff Persons. “He would rarely reach out for help and seemed almost lost in his own world.”
Over the two years at Brown, Adrian quickly won the hearts of everyone around him with his concern for others.
“From here he blossomed and did an outstanding job where he mainstreamed to regular education class for part of the day,” said Persons.
Adrian currently receives support services from teachers in his special day class. His teacher, Laura Clarke said that in the two years she has taught him she has never heard him complain of his severe vision loss or use it as an excuse.
“He is such an outstanding student,” said Clarke. “He’s just a really good role model for the rest of the students. He doesn’t see his blindness as a disability.”
Through the specialized reading and writing instruction his special day class has provided, he has excelled in language arts and has recently moved to a mainstreamed language arts. His closed circuit computer, which projects information from the classroom whiteboard to the screen on his desk, and other adapted materials, are used on a constant basis.
“He still uses specialized equipment to project bigger images in the classroom but he’s in the same academic standard as the rest of his students,” said Persons. “He has a positive attitude and really exemplifies really great characteristics despite the fact that he has vision loss.”
Adrian was recently honored, along with several other students by local politicians and leaders during the Every Student Succeeding awards program held in Modesto. Every Student Succeeding honors students who have overcome and succeeded against challenges, have gone beyond expectations and have won the hearts of their teachers and staff. The honor is given by the Association of School Administrators Stanislaus Charter and the Stanislaus County Office of Education.
“It felt really good being up there with all the other kids,” said Adrian. “It was a huge honor to be recognized for all my hard work.”