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Community celebrates exceptional children
E-Exceptional Childrens Week pic
Riverview Middle School student Jonathon Gross and Director of Special Education Hershel Bennett listen as Mayor James Grogan reads a proclamation for Exceptional Childrens Week at last weeks Dawsonville City Council meeting. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson County News

Each year Dawson County Schools honor special needs children throughout the system during the statewide celebration of Exceptional Children's Week. During last week's City Council meeting Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan read the proclamation for Exceptional Children's Week to be observed during the week of March 7-11.

Director of Special Education Hershel Bennett and eighth grader Jonathon Gross from Riverview Middle School were in attendance to represent the children from the Dawson County school system.

This year's events included an art show and contest with the theme of career choices, as well as separate events in each school in the district including activities for regular education students.

"Instead of just focusing on artwork that students with exceptional needs create and honor them, each school is doing a presentation or honoring someone this week through regular ‘ed' to bring those kids in," said Bennett. "They either show them scenarios on what it would be like to have a disability such as certain glasses that make you see things or a computer that shows the print where some words or scrambled."

Since becoming director, Bennett said an emphasis has been placed on recognizing the importance and significance of special needs students.

"Dawson County High School has honored regular [education] teachers who have gone out of their way to help students with exceptional needs," he said. "Riverview Middle School has peer facilitators where instead of taking classes like art, PE or music, they have one opportunity a year to take a class called peer facilitator where they help the more severe special needs students with homework assignments and things like that."

This year's artwork was on display at the Dawson County Library and was judged on Friday. Students who participated will receive a certificate and a medal. Trophies will be presented to winners during the April 18 Board of Education meeting.