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Eventually No One Will Feel Ostracized – Embracing Differences: Erika Gruidl
See how one high school student created a team to overcome bureaucracy and life-long lessons in ignoring those with differences, causing a local school to step away from the exclusive mentality of high school and embrace the differences of six remarkable students. Special needs students that had been isolated in the school system became super stars at Livermore High. The change initiated in 2011 persisted with incoming Freshman, as the student body demonstrated to the younger students, who had not yet seen the Shooting Stars, ‘how to act with those with differences.’
Erika Gruidl, Founder of Shooting Stars, a cheer squad comprised of Special Needs students, speaks about the journey in creating a world where everyone feels welcomed. Erika loved performing as a varsity cheerleader for her school and believed Special Needs students deserved the chance to experience the same sort of joy. After initial resistance, the Shooting Stars were ultimately acknowledged, recognized and welcomed by the entire student body.