Early in Key Stage 3, I suffered third-degree burns up the right side of my thigh. Unable to walk, I could only move around in a wheelchair. It was difficult to do so many things from catching up with friends, to getting to class on time by myself, and more. From then, inclusivity and accessibility had become something important to me.

Flash forward to the beginning of this academic year when Universal Accessibility (UA) was established. UA is a student-lead service initiative that is currently lead by me and Yiming S. Our executive team for this school year consists of Rino F, Aidan S, and Vivian L.

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We aim to destigmatize disability, create a more accessible school environment, and reshape DCB through a lens of open-mindedness and empathy, making sure every student feels as secure as can be. We aspire to interact with the student body through the year to spread our message and fundraise, with all proceeds going toward creating accessibility systems in DCB, and mental and physical health and accessibility organizations in China.

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Through surveys and interviews with students, we identified areas of the school that were lacking in accessibility, one notable area being the staircases between the Science and Languages corridors, a critical area where the staircases made it difficult for anyone relying on crutches or wheelchairs. It is the only set of stairs in the school that taking the elevator cannot help you avoid.

In December 2020, Universal Accessibility reached out to school administration in hopes of being able to find a solution to make those stairs more accessible. Initially, we hoped for simply a ramp. After weeks of meetings and proposals with the wonderful Mr Kevin Elliott and Mr George Jiang, come April, our expectations were exceeded! Now, leading up the science corridor, something of a mini lift has been set up to allow a more accessible pathway for those who need it. We hope that this is just the beginning of Universal Accessibility’s impact on DCB and know we can continue to help change this community for the better well into the future.

Victoria F – Year 12

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