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By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor
Recent Huron High School graduate Kayla Kendall is grateful to be one of four Michigan students to receive a John Weir scholarship honoring the founder of the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living.
“I really like the events they put on and everything they do to raise awareness of disabilities, so I thought it would be cool to be associated with (the CIL),” said Kayla, who will study music therapy at Eastern Michigan University in the fall and hopes to either work with children with disabilities or at a psychiatric hospital.
The John Weir Scholarship is named for the Pioneer High School/EMU graduate who later founded the first CIL in Michigan and the fourth in the country.
Anna Dusbiber, Ann Arbor CIL Youth Program Manager and Chair of the John Weir Scholarship Committee, said she has the privilege to witness positive educational milestones for those who receive the scholarship each year.
“We are adding to the leaders of our disability community, fueling the power and promise of the ADA for many years to come,” she said. “It is the committee’s and my honor to announce the recipients of the John Weir Scholarship as they are the current and future leaders of our community demonstrating tremendous ability in their society and following their passions.”
“(Kayla) shows promise in leadership for the future combining her love of music with her desire to change the lives of others through music therapy.”
In her scholarship application, Kayla wrote: “I loved the way that singing could help not just myself in moments of weakness, but others around me as well … I realized I love helping and music, and that I could actually make my living by sharing my joy of music with others in need.”
The Ann Arbor CIL has been a link and resource to the community for more than 41 years. CIL partners with Ann Arbor Public Schools and many others to create ongoing inclusion and opportunities for students.
CIL Executive Director Carolyn Grawi says the mission is to work with and on behalf of people with disabilities, dedicated to the success of children, youth, adults, and seniors at home, at school and in the community.,” she says. “These awards are given in recognition of student strengths and an opportunity for them to take that
“These awards are given in recognition of student strengths and an opportunity for them to take that nest step to making their dream their reality,” she says. “We have a saying in the disability community: `Nothing about us without us.’ Kayla is defining her own future and exercising the spirit of the award by making a difference through her goals of impact and connection to people through music.”
The other scholarship recipients include Athena Slawski and Aidan Carichner, Saline High School; and Elise Kolar, Bedford.