This I Believe

Catherine - Papillion, Nebraska
Entered on December 13, 2006

The Judgers

I remember the day I met Emily Beshlian. As I walked into 6th grade Religious Education Class, also known as C.C.D., I saw Emily sitting at the front desk with her mom who happened to be our teacher. The whole class knew from the start Emily had a disability; we just weren’t quite sure what it was. From Emily’s looks, anyone would figure she was just an average person. But, when Emily started talking and doing the things she does, we knew something was wrong. Later into the class period, Emily’s mom informed us that Emily has Autism, a disability of the brain. Although she had Autism, we were also told that she was probably smarter than half of the class put together.

As the next 2 years went by, I didn’t think of Emily too much unless I saw her at C.C.D. class. Freshman year, though, she was put in my 7th hour class, Honors Biology. With the school being so big, and Emily being treated the way she was, she got the privilege of leaving class 10 minutes early to beat the rush of students and get to the bus on time. Over the year at C.C.D., I became close with Emily. So, when someone was needed to help get Emily going fast so she would make it to the bus in time, her mom mentioned my name.

That year, I learned a lot about Emily. She talked to me everyday while we walked to her locker to get her books and then all the way to the bus. I learned that Emily already earned six college credits. Also, I learned the different disabilities that come with having Autism. From the start of that 6th grade class, I judged Emily and thought she was weird. Now, when I see someone harassing her in the hallway, I can’t help myself from stopping to say something to that person. If it weren’t for Emily, I wouldn’t know anything about Autism of the effects that come with it.

Not only did Emily teach me about Autism but she taught me that you can never judge a person. If it weren’t for Emily, I would be one of those students making fun of her. As you grow up, you learn to not “judge a book by its cover.” It’s only what’s on the inside that matters. And who knows, maybe the person you make fun of will be the next person you learn an important life lesson from.