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Cool Schools: Goshen Middle School science project aims to educate community

Brittany Gummere traveled from Indianapolis to Goshen Middle School to speak to a group of 8th grade students about her daughter.

“I’m always eager to let people know about Ellie because she’s pretty rare and she’s super special,” said Gummere.

Ellie has a genetic disorder that’s so rare, the only research about it online was written by Brittany.

8th grade science teacher Joe Vance is introducing a new project about genetic disorders. And he thought bringing in Brittany to help was the perfect idea.

“They’re going to be creating a website to help inform the public about genetic disorders but we’re also hoping to achieve a dual purpose they will write narratives imaging what it might be like to be someone with a disorder,” Vance said.

This is the second year that the group project is on his agenda and it’s personal for students and faculty.

 “I have a son who is 16-years old and was diagnosed with Angelman syndrome,” said Tami Hicks, the school’s Assistant Principal and Co-Director of New Tech.

”For our students to be able to look into these disorders and produce information for people to learn more about it that’s a big deal,” said Hicks.

One girl in the classroom paid close attention to Brittany’s words because she’s living with a similar ordeal.

“My younger sister, she’s 10, she has down-syndrome and is on the autism spectrum,” said Sam Stoltzfus, an 8th grader at Goshen. “When I go out in public and all they see about my sister is how she’s different and they don’t see how sassy she can be or how sarcastic she can be,” Stoltzfus said.

The school focuses on creating a project-based learning environment to positively shape their student’s futures.

There is an important message Vance wants each of them to take away from the experience

“To help build a more inclusive type of community where people are going to start not to see people as labels but to start see past those labels and just see them as people,” Vance said.

Taking on a big project like this one could inspire some to change the world someday

“They’re just choosing what they want to do in life and that could directly affect Ellie and her quality of life and I just think they’re going to change the world,” said Gummere.

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