Shelia’s Revival- Part 3

Brendan Connelly, Contributing Writer

When Shelia got back home that night, she realized that Gail had been right. She did need to think more about helping others in order to help herself. She immediately started to think that when school restarted, she wanted to help lead the reading group and get a group of friends to visit soup kitchens and hospitals. 

When the first day of class arrived, Shelia walked into the classroom with a huge smile on her face. Gail made sure she got a front-row seat. 

“Shelia, you are going to feel right at home. Remember, be the best you can be and don’t be afraid to follow your dreams.”

“Good morning, class. I have great news: we have a new student joining us this year.” 

“Hi, class. My name is Shelia Patterson. I am 27 years old and already both my parents are gone. I was left to find my way in the world all alone. My challenges only began there. I have been scared to express my feelings because I have autism. I began to feel lost, forgotten, and hopeless. One night, while I was working at the local drug store, our teacher Gail sees my crying, comforts me, takes me home with her, and teaches me some very valuable life lessons. She has revived my life.” 

“Ok, class, let’s start with a meet and greet.” The class consisted of 12 students, all with special needs and in the same age group ranging from 22-30 years old. There were six boys and six girls: Billy, John, Timmy, Michael, Mark, Ben, Marcia, Kelly, Catherine, Jill, Grace, and Shelia.

The book the class selected was The Wind and The Willows. Shelia was a huge help, assisting Ben and Marcia who have Down syndrome and have some trouble reading. After each student finished reading, Shelia went over, patted each student on the back, and gave each a compliment. Shelia told all her classmates to “always believe in yourself and always have the belief and courage that you can achieve anything in life.” 

Gail went over to Shelia and said, “See, Shelia, I knew you had it in you. You are doing an excellent job already!”

Shelia said she could relate to the toad who was lost, shy and had nobody to help him. Like the toad once he met a friend, she now felt like hopping around and started to see the world much differently. The class started laughing hysterically as Shelia got up and started hopping around the room like a happy frog! 

“Hey, class, want to hear a joke?”

“Yes, please, Shelia!” 

“Knock, Knock!”

“Who’s there?” 


“Orange who?” 

“Orange you glad to be here?!” 

The class broke out laughing and smiled at Shelia. 

The next subject was leadership & social skills. Shelia reflected on the night Gail was there to help her revive her life. Shelia said one of the biggest keys to being a good leader is to set a positive example for your peers, remain positive through every situation, never give up on yourself, bounce back from adversity, be honest, be friendly, and offer to assist others.