VSA Florida is proud to announce Nicholas McNealy and Kristin Fultz as the November 2017 Students of the Month.
12-year-old Nicholas was nominated by Danette Fuller, an art teacher and art club sponsor at Deeper Root Academy in Gotha. Ms. Fuller writes, “Nicholas has a God-given talent that is simply remarkable to witness. Art is where he excels.” Inspired by Disney with a dream to become a “Disney Imagineer”, Nicholas is ever honing his graphic characterizations and notable songwriting skills. Art provides Nicholas with an escape from the social pressures that come with having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and being mainstreamed in his middle school classrooms. Ms. Fuller enthusiastically shared Nicholas’ story with us, understanding that the Student of the Month award will provide the self-confidence boost that every budding artist needs from time to time.
17-year-old Kristin was nominated by her mother Lisa Baxter, founder and principal of Special Kids Academy in Largo. She proudly writes, “Kristin has loved to dance since she was five years old and is a good example of what a child with a disability can accomplish. Every child with special needs is given a talent and Kristin has rhythm.” With a solid foundation of seven years of formal dance lessons in ballet and tap,
Kristin now spends her time teaching herself hip-hop moves, getting healthy exercise while having the time of her life. As a visual learner, Kristin is able to watch a demonstration, repeat it…and share it! She has performed at numerous venues including the Family Café in Orlando and The Buddy Walk in Largo, and has appeared on FOX 13 Charley’s World and Bay News 9. Her mom shares, “Kristin has Down syndrome and a heart condition. She works very hard to accomplish everything to be the best she can be!”
In the coming weeks, VSA Florida is looking forward to presenting Nicholas and Kristin with their gift certificates and personalized trophies for winning this prestigious award.
The VSA Florida Student of the Month Program is designed to increase public awareness and recognize the impact arts make on students with disabilities statewide. Students who participate in the arts develop creativity, have increased self-confidence, understand teamwork, have increased language and math skills and are generally more engaged.