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Santa Rosa High School students get glimpse of life with a disability

  • Santa Rosa High School students listen to former student Alexa McBride talk about living with cerebral palsy and disabilities in general, Friday Oct. 18, 2013. McBride who is a senior at Sacramento State University was a student of instructor Terry Swehla at SRHS in 2008, who invited McBride to speak. At right is McBride's boyfriend Nathan Carter. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

Santa Rosa High School senior Hana Musgrove didn't know when she sat down in her health class Friday morning that a guest lecture on Disability History Week would inspire her to share something about herself.

After listening to Alexa McBride, a Santa Rosa Class of 2008 graduate and senior at Sacramento State University, speak of living life with cerebral palsy, Musgrove raised her hand.

"I have cerebral palsy," the slight senior told the crowded classroom.

Alexa McBride At Santa Rosa High School

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She added that although she doesn't use a wheelchair like McBride, she does struggle with physical movement more rigorous than walking. Many of her classmates don't have any idea because Musgrove rarely speaks of it, she said.

"It feels really good to talk about it," she said after class. "It just kind of came over me. She said she has cerebral palsy, so I thought, I want to say 'I do too.'"

McBride, speaking through a translator because her speech is affected by the condition, bestowed kudos on Musgrove.

"Congratulations on walking," she said. "That is amazing. I want to learn to walk."

McBride's visit, coordinated by Terry Swehla, her former teacher at Santa Rosa High, is part of her outreach efforts through Yo! Disabled and Proud, a project of the Sacramento-based California Foundation for Independent Living Centers.

"I want them to realize that everybody is just like you and you might have to be patient with somebody," she said of the talks that she gave to three of Swehla's classes Friday.

McBride, who is studying child development, expects to graduate from Sac State in the spring and intends to earn money as a substitute teacher before enrolling in law school.


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