It’s not Shalyn Jubilee’s academics that make her stand out to her teachers; it’s her compassion.
The 8-year-old third-grader at Fairview/Miss Jewell Elementary School is known for going out of her way to help her peers, especially an austistic inclusion student.
“I help him out,” Shalyn said. “I help him with his words, his food, in games and with all that stuff because he needs someone to teach him how to do all that himself.”
Some special education students at Fairview/Miss Jewell take part in classes with their non-special education peers, which is how Shalyn first came into contact with her friend.
Terri Smith, Shaylyn’s teacher, said she is always looking out for fellow students, and her understanding, responsibility and caring attitude has changed the climate of her classroom.
“She exemplifies citizenship,” Smith said. “If somebody gets hurt or needs something, she’d give all her stuff away to help someone else.”
Even at home, Shalyn said she tries to help her mother by teaching two of her brothers, who are 1 and 2 years old, about shapes, counting and reading.
When Shalyn misses a class, Smith said her classmates scramble to do the job Shalyn was never asked to do.
Janee Beck, a special education aide, said Shalyn’s reaching out has made her friend more willing to interact.
“Kids with autism usually don’t interact with other children,” Beck said. “When he sees her, he recognizes her. We see he’s more willing to interact with her and other children because of her patience.”
Shalyn said she likes to help others whenever she can, either in the classroom or by donating to food drives or charities.
“It makes me feel happy. I can help and do all that for him because he doesn’t know how to talk,” Shalyn said. “I really want to help everyone out.”
In the future, Shalyn said she hopes to be a doctor or a nurse in order to help even more people.