Kristi Wendt, a special education teacher at Cain Elementary School in the East Texas town of Whitehouse, loves her students — pre-schoolers with a variety of disabilities, most of them severe. But she holds them to a high standard and has even higher hopes for them. This includes college.
“We are a ‘No Excuses University’ school, which means that we emphasize exceptional systems in the areas of academic and social interventions, standards alignment, and college readiness, among other things” she said. “Each class must align itself with an exceptional university and our class picked Auburn, largely because my husband is a two-time Tiger grad,” she said. “I kept wondering who will love my babies the way I love them and I thought of Auburn’s Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation, and Counseling. We reached out to Nancy Evans in the SERC Department and she really went the extra mile to get us posters, t-shirts, and lots of other Auburn symbols. Now, all over our school, we have all of our student shouting ‘War Eagle! Every day of the school year!”
Wendt has become so devoted to Auburn that she surprised her husband with a trip to the campus to see the Ole Miss-Auburn football game. Their first stop? The SERC Friday morning faculty meeting. She addressed the faculty members as a slideshow played in the background.
“I am mostly just here to say thank you for all your support and for what it means to our class,” she said. “Every one of our students love Auburn and identify with your school. We start each day with a big War Eagle and sing the fight song. We have an Auburn flag over our door, and Auburn stuff everywhere. We use Auburn as a way to inspire our students and help them understand that being born with a disability does not mean we can’t focus on their abilities. And your support encourages them to do just that every day.”
Krisiti, from all of us, thank you for your devotion to your students, and War Eagle!