Community Cinema was a big hit at Arkansas School for the Blind in Little Rock last week. We screened The Eyes of Me, a film about four visually impaired teens at Texas School for the Blind.
The majority of those who attended were students and faculty from ASB. Panelists included ASB Superintendent Jim Hill and ASB students Parker Rush (7th grade) and Eric Yarberry (junior).
Both students have been blind since birth and regard their blindness a minor inconvenience Parker is in the Gifted and Talented program and has won numerous academic awards. Eric, who is a championship wrestler, climbed a volcano this past summer making it to 16,000 feet (his guide was Erik Weihenmayer, the only blind person to ever climb Mt. Everest)
Facilitated by ASB vocational instructor and Gifted & Talend coordinator Chris Wilkes, the panelists all agreed that the film portrayed blindness as accurately as possible considering the filmmaker wasnt blind.
The film didnt sugar coat blindness, but it wasnt all doom and gloom either, Parker said.
This Community Cinema helped me realize just how many misconceptions most of us have about blindness. Our panelists and those who attended helped us understand that even though visual impairments arent easy to deal with, anyone affected quickly learns to cope and make the best of their situation. I think Mr. Hill said it best: Our students have a lot of get up and go.
Being blind makes me think about life and make better choices for myself, Eric said, which is probably one of the best instances of making the best of a situation.
Parker and Eric both mentioned how they do often think about being blind, especially when they think about the things they cant dolike play football or drive cars. But, in the words of Parker, except for certain situations they are pretty much fine with it.
It was an excellent event with great conversation. Needless to say, the panelists and all the students at ASB were and are a great inspiration to all of us.