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THE LYNNFIELD ADVOCATE
– Friday, April 21, 2017
Page 15
Wenham and Bishop Fenwick
by identical 5-0 scores.
Against theGeneralsonApril
10, Stonewas thrilledtoget the
seasonunderway, buta littlebit
more drama would have been
preferred for a more competi-
tive match.
“It’s always nice to start the
season with a win,” Stone said.
“Our singles lineup is pret-
ty much established, but our
doubles teams will be a work
in progress.”
The best match of the day
was in third singles, according
toStone,whenNevils, powered
by truegrit anddetermination,
prevailed over her Hamilton-
Wenham opponent, 6-4, 6-3.
KatieNugent andAllisonCarey
persevered infirstdoubles, 6-2,
6-3, in another relatively close
competitive match.
Against non-league Bishop
Fenwick onApril 13, Stonewas
pleased with the effort of his
singles players, while the first
doubles team of Nugent and
Careystruggledearly inthefirst
set, but settled down nicely to
breeze to victory in the second
set.Theywon, 7-5, 6-1.The sec-
onddoubles tandemof Rachel
Strout andLauraMucci record-
edtheir first varsitywin togeth-
er in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3.
“We showcased an all-senior
lineupagainstBishopFenwick,”
saidStone.“With theexception
of Mezini and Nevils, all others
have worked their way up the
ladder to full-time varsity play-
ers over the years. It says a lot
for hanging in there and wait-
ing for your time tocontribute.”
Sarah Mezini (6-0, 6-1) won
going away in first singles. Ca-
mie Foley (6-2, 6-3) and Nevils
(6-0, 6-2) completedthesingles
sweep with wins of their own.
The Pioneers hope to build
on this early momentum to
challenge for league, sectional
and state titles later on in the
season, something they have
been accustomed to doing in
recent years.
TENNIS
| from page 13
still learning new things, and I
couldn’t help but look forward
to the next year.
Sophomore year field hock-
ey is hands down my favorite
season that I have played in.
The past summer I had gone to
team camp and Bailey had en-
couraged me to join the Olym-
pic Development Program,
so when preseason started, I
was more than ready. We end-
ed that season as Cape Ann
League Champions and one
loss away from an undefeat-
ed season. Ms. Reardon had al-
ways commented that Alison,
Lauren, Bailey, and I were her
“diamond” and that we con-
trolled thegames. Unfortunate-
ly, we couldn’t control our last
game in tournament against
Weston. We had gone into sev-
en v. seven overtime, and after
Bailey managed to make mul-
tiple goals that were all called
back, the odds were not in our
favor. For me, this was a time
when field hockey started to
be a big piece of my life. I was
named as a Cape Ann League
Second Team All Star, and Bai-
leydirectedme towards Boston
FieldHockey Club, andwithout
club field hockey I would not
havebeenable togrow into the
player I am today.
Entering Junior year, my club
coach told me that I should be
committed by March of my Ju-
nior year. Those are some hefty
wordswheneveryonewhoIwas
playing with at Boston had al-
readycommittedtotheirhomes
after high school. With Boston I
PATTERSON
| from page 12
Shown, from left to right, are Gracie Sperling, Hannah Filipe, Lauren McGrath, Elise Murphy,
Lilli Patterson, Danielle Douglas, Shannon Furey, Olivia Smyrnios, and Eliza Brooks.
PATTERSON
| SEE PAGE 16
LMS “lights it up blue” for Autism Awareness Month
By Melanie Higgins
A
utismhasanally inthe formof
the Lynnfield Middle School.
Thanks to a talented and com-
mitted number of teachers and
professionals, kids with autism
(and any other disability, for
that matter) feel seen and val-
ued. That’s the takeaway for one
parent of a child in the Lynnfield
school system, Julie Perrin.
Julie’s daughter Rachel has au-
tism – but that’s only one fact
about her. She’s also thought-
ful, funny and kind, according to
thoseclosetoher.“Shehasagreat
groupof friends,”Perrinsaid.“They
all just accept her for who she is.”
Perrin has been on an “ad-
venture”– as she likes to call it –
with Rachel for most of her life.
She was diagnosed with autism
froma young age and has faced
all the challenges that go with
it – from difficulty communicat-
ing, to anxiety, to learning. But
thanks to teachers at LMS, she
has come a long way.
“The teachers and paraprofes-
sionals put their heart and soul
into this,” Perrin said, especial-
ly about Meaghen Kelly, Rachel’s
paraprofessional since 5th grade.
“Thebestpartofmydayiswhen
I come into school and I hear, “Hi,
Miss Kelly!” Meaghen said in a
phone conversation. “She’s the
reason I stayed inMassachusetts.”
Kelly explained that on a typ-
ical day the pair will often go
grocery shopping or clothes
shopping in addition to help-
ing her with the school day – a
regimen that helps prepare Ra-
chel for the world ahead.
It alsohelps that people under-
stand more about autism, that it
mightmake theworld a little eas-
ier forthem.“Childrendon’tunder-
standautismso theydon’t under-
stand the child’s behavior,” Perrin
said. “It’s all about awareness and
just acceptingwho they are.”
Thankfully, themiddle school’s
efforts areworking towards that
direction. This past month dur-
ing Autism Awareness Month,
the school has gone all out to
promote autismawareness. Kids
proudly wore blue scarves (blue
is the symbol for autism) around
the school, and theyplaced their
handprint on a “light it up” wall
to symbolize their solidaritywith
kids with autism.
“We strive for inclusion at ev-
ery opportunity possible,” said
LMS Principal Steven Ralston in
an e-mail. “This is not one day
or one month ... but every day.”
Ralstonwent on to congratulate
DifferentiatedLearningProgram
(DLP) leader BonnieO’Keefe and
lead School Support Program
(SSP) teacher ErinClasby for their
efforts in helping tomake LMS a
more inclusive place.
O’Keefe explained that some-
times inclusion is hard for indi-
viduals with autism because of
their struggles with social cues.
However, she said that these
challenges do not preclude
them from getting involved; in
fact, it’s even more of a reason
to get them to participate, and
key to accomplishing that is un-
derstanding their needs.
“We must understand – each
student has different challeng-
es and strengths regardless of
their diagnosis, so getting to
know each student as a learner
isessential tohelpthemsucceed,”
O’Keefe said. She went on to list
the number of inclusion oppor-
tunities the school provides, in-
cluding“exploratory classes”(P.E.,
music, art, lunch,homeroom)and
“reverse inclusion” opportuni-
ties, which are in essence “struc-
turedsocial groups”facilitatedby
a teacher that blend kids from a
general education setting with
kids who participate in DLP.
“It allows themto look through
thelensofanindividualwithadis-
abilitytobetterunderstandothers
differences,”O’Keefe said.
Inadditiontothemiddleschool,
thetownhastakenstepstobridge
thegapbetweenthegeneralpop-
ulation and kids or adults with
disabilities, who tend to be “cor-
donedoff.”Just recently Lynnfield
CommunityConnectionsmerged
with the Recreation Department,
which gives kids with disabilities
the same opportunities to partic-
ipate in activities with everyone
else.Uponsigningupforactivities
online, parentshavetheoptionto
request a paraprofessional or ac-
commodations in the same way
others might want to signal that
their child has an allergy. Results
have been extremely positive,
with kids enjoying bowling and
open gym and not paying atten-
tion to whether their peers have
adisabilityor not –preciselywhat
Perrin feels isnecessarygoing for-
ward to reduce stigma.
“I’mnot ashamed of my child,”
Perrin said. “Raising a child with
autism is not a job, it’s an ad-
venture.”
And part of that adventure is
just watching Rachel grow. Perrin
said that her daughter has“come
a long way” in recent years, and
wants to thank the LMS staff for
their role in that.
Rachel Perrin shares autismpuzzlepiece cookies that hermom
made for the classroom.
DLP classmates, from left to right, are Anthony, Ella, Chris, Ra-
chel and Kevin.
Anthony Sylvester, Rachel Perrin, Craig Campbell (teacher at
LMS) and Donald Sylvester.