News Release
Homer CCSD 33C
Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler
Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High
Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager | 708-226-7628
For Immediate Release:
April 20, 2016
Homer Junior High students “Choose Kind”

Photo  from Homer School District 33C regarding a pledge Homer Junior High students took yesterday to “Choose Kind.” They took the pledge after hearing the story of Mary Cate Lynch, who was born with Apert’s Syndrome.
Before commenting on a person’s appearance or avoiding them altogether, everyone should “Choose Kind,” Homer Junior High School students were told this week.
“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you don’t know about,” guest speaker Kerry Lynch told students on April 20. “If we all try to do our best to treat each other with kindness, wouldn’t it be easier to fight those battles?”
Lynch’s oldest child, 4-year-old Mary Cate, was born with Apert’s Syndrome, a rare craniofacial condition that affects the head, hands and feet. Only about 25 babies are born with the spontaneous genetic mutation each year.
“We had no idea until she was born that she was different,” Lynch told students. “Her fingers and toes were fused together and the bones in her skull fused together. The doctors said they had never seen this before.”
The toddler has undergone five surgeries to separate her toes and fingers and to open her skull to allow the brain to grow. She is expected to undergo another 10 to 20 surgeries by the time she turns 20 — the age at which our bones stop growing.
Lynch was motivated to educate others about the syndrome because of a comment the doctor made shortly after Mary Cate was born.
“She is always going to look different,” he told the new parents, “and people may not treat her kindly.”
Lynch now writes a blog and visits schools, sharing stories about Mary Cate’s progress and encouraging them to treat others with kindness and acceptance.
“The world would be boring if we all looked the same,” she told Homer Junior High students.
The school invited Lynch to share Mary Cate’s story because it ties in with its efforts to promote acceptance and support for one another.
“It has been our goal to focus on the theme of acceptance and the importance of recognizing each other and our similarities and differences,” said Meagan Doornbos, the school’s dean of students. “As a school, we strive to foster a safe, supportive community where all individuals feel confident in their own skin.”
Toward the end of the school assembly, students were asked to take the “Choose Kind” pledge.
“When given the choice between being right and being kind, I will choose kind,” they said in unison.
“Choose Kind” is an anti-bullying campaign inspired by the novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
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