Grade Eight Student, Rothesay Park School
2015 National Inclusive Education Award recipient
Some of the teachers at Rothesay Park School call Keelan Lewis “Mother Hen” or “The Big Sister” because of the compassion, empathy and kindness she shows for her classmates with a disability.
Keelan is a leader at Rothesay Park School, a student who does well academically and a top athlete. She is also a role model in her relationships with all her schoolmates who have a disability, especially with her dear friend, Anna.
When the new Vice-Principal at Rothesay Park was being briefed about her students who have a disability, Anna Keyes, a grade eight student with Down Syndrome, was brought to her attention. “Don’t worry about Anna,” she was told. “She has a great group of friends.”
Indeed she does! Keelan has brought Anna into a wide circle of friends, and has facilitated her inclusion in school activities and clubs. She has helped everyone at the school see what Anna can do and be.
Keelan’s inclusive nature goes beyond her friendship with Anna, as well. According to the three teachers who dubbed Keelan “Mother Hen,” it doesn’t matter if Keelan is in gym class, tech class or science class; she will always be the first to offer to assist in any way, academically or just being a classroom buddy.
As Vice-Principal Angela Marr summed it up, “Keelan is a role model for our entire student body in her respectful and kind interactions with all our students who have a disability, but her friendship with Anna truly shows that people with an intellectual disability can have rich relationships with their peers.
“That is a lesson from which we all benefit.”
NBACL congratulates Keelan on her 2015 National Inclusive Education Award, and thanks her for her commitment to furthering inclusive education practices at Rothesay Park School and in her community.