The Class That’s All Fun and Games


For most, Guess Who or Headbandz aren’t the main focus of the class. But down in the SPED rooms, Fridays are chock-full of games.

Down on the first floor, every Friday, Mr.Stahl’s Impersonal Skills class spend the hour playing board games, card games, and coloring. The class is of course made of SPED students, but also consists of those who aren’t SPED and simply are there to spend time with the kids.

Nathan Anbessie, a student of Stahl’s, said “the class is important to the teachers. The number of kids compared to adults is difficult. We help a lot. The students also help them make good friends, you know? We’re all buddies in there.”

In the class, there are many SPED students, but fewer students like Anbessie. Those few students are there to not only to have fun, but help develop the social skills of the SPED kids.

But the time spent in class doesn’t only benefit the SPED students. Anbessie admits he has changed a lot over the course of the semester.

“I got to know them. I understand more of the problems they have. There’s this one kid in a different class who literally can’t physically talk. [After this class] you’re more…well, just more aware.”

But sadly, not many know about this class, or what it does for the community.

When Charleigh Thomas, who is not enrolled in the class, was asked if she knew the class and what they do in it. She responded, “Yeah, don’t they talk and have a social hour and stuff? Sometimes they do homework out [in the commons].”

The class is not only games and socializing, however. Recently it has been working on a big Christmas project. On Thursday, Dec 6, the class went on a field trip to Target, $400 in hand, and bought toys and gifts for the children of Children’s Mercy. This took a long process, given that they raised the money themselves, wrote thank you cards to those that donated, bought the presents, and plan to give them to the organization, all within the class periods they have four times a week.

The class is very rewarding to all parties within and out of it. However, as a non-SPED student enrolled in the class, there are of course a few obstacles.

“At the beginning of the class I was too scared to talk to anyone,” said Anbessie. “I knew that it takes a special person to be in the class and I didn’t think I could do it. But then I started to help them, and connect, and now we’re all close. I have secret handshakes with like a lot of them.”

It’s clear why the class was originally started. It was to benefit the SPED kids, who needed the experience with people their own age, and to help the teachers, who needed the assistance. But the outcome was much more than that. The class, all working together as a whole, not only changed their community but their students. The effect the time in the class has on non-SPED students is monumental, and just as important as the effect on the SPED kids.

“Yeah, I’m definitely taking the class next year,” Anbessie said. “It’s super fun.”