A Corona del Mar High School student is reminding the world that a little kindness goes a long way.
After losing her sister, Ava, in 2012 to a rare genetic disorder, 17-year-old Grace Murray has spent her days honoring Ava’s memory. From volunteering with organizations like Best Buddies, Special Camp and Special Olympics Southern California, Murray’s passion has been to find a career where she can provide services to those with special needs.
But when the pandemic forced schools, special camps and other organizations to close, she decided to take her passion to paper.
This summer, Murray self-published “The Same But a Little Different,” a children’s book about a girl with Angelman syndrome who visits a waterpark with her sister.
In a recent interview with the Daily Pilot, Murray said she kept thinking about what she could do from home to honor her sister that could be beneficial for people.
“So, I started to write a book,” she said.
Murray says the intention was to instill a responsibility in children from a young age to include all people, but especially those with special needs. “With my sister, I would see people staring at her or laughing at her because she’d wear diapers and be in a stroller at an older age,” Murray said.
“At the end of the story, there’s tips on how to be kind and inclusive and why it’s important to be sympathetic and nice to everyone,” she said.
Murray estimates about 165 copies of the book have been sold with all the proceeds donated to the Angelman Syndrome Foundation, according to the Daily Pilot.
“Everyone has bad days. Everyone has stuff at home that they don’t want to share, and being kind is so easy to do and it’s a lot of effort to go out of your way to be rude,” Murray said.
“It’s so important to be kind and it really does make someone’s day,” she said.
And here are some of the other education stories we’ve been following this week:
- Educators and industry leaders will learn how they can help equip students for future careers at the sixth annual OC Pathways Showcase, which will take place virtually from 9 to 10 a.m. on Nov. 18.
- The Huntington Beach Union High School District this week began sending students back for in-person instruction. The district’s hybrid plan calls for two days per week of in-person instruction on campus, an amount similar to what districts such as Capistrano Unified and Fullerton Joint Union offer their high school students.
- In related news, two more school districts in north Orange County will begin in-person instruction on Monday, Nov. 9. The Buena Park and Savanna districts have announced plans to reopen classrooms next week under hybrid plans.
- A non-traditional high school in Orange County is giving students who’ve faced significant obstacles a second chance. OCDE breaks down five facts you should know about Sunburst Youth Academy.
- Due to Los Angeles County’s rising rate of COVID-19 cases, the Los Angeles Unified School District affirmed this week that schools likely won’t reopen until January 2021 at the earliest.
- The majority of the nation’s 15 largest school districts currently have at least some students back on school campuses for in-person learning. As districts continue to make plans to safely bring students back, USA Today reports that a recent rise in COVID-19 cases may threaten their efforts.
- The Orange County School of the Arts, a Santa Ana-based public charter school known for its arts programs, will delay its start of in-person learning to Jan. 11.
- A middle school student from Newport Beach was one of 30 finalists in Broadcom MASTERS, billed as the nation’s premier science, technology, engineering and mathematics — or STEM — middle school competition.
- Superintendents of the Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Ana, San Diego, Fresno, Oakland and Sacramento unified school districts this week sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom, urging him to support a “Common Standard for schools to safely reopen and remain open.”
This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroom, subscribing for emailed updates and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.