Victoria Conrad’s passion and dedication to inclusive education is an inspiration. On Thursday, May 1st, Victoria will be honored for this at the Henderson School Gala. Being born prematurely at 25 weeks, Victoria was diagnosed with Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. Her parents – Bonnie and Bob – always had a vision of high expectations and independence for their daughter which led them to enroll her at the Patrick O’Hearn Elementary School (now renamed the William Henderson School) in Dorchester when she was 3 years old.
Victoria credits much of her lifelong focus on educational and community inclusion on the education she received at the O’Hearn. Throughout her education there, she learned strategies both typical and atypical for students her age. Her teachers and therapists note that from a very young age, Victoria learned the power of self-advocacy. One of her teachers recalled that she was always an eager participant in planning accommodations and modifications that aided in her independence and access. This process of problem solving to overcome inherent curriculum and physical barriers for people with disabilities continues to drive Victoria in her daily endeavors.
Victoria went on to attend Boston Collegiate Charter School for both middle school and high school where she was the first student with significant disabilities to attend and excel. After graduating from high school in 2009, Victoria attended and lived independently at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She graduated with a BA in French and a minor in education. While attending UMass Amherst, Victoria returned to the O’Hearn to volunteer and offer her unique perspective on assistive technology and setting high standards for all learners.
Victoria is currently a paraprofessional at the Henderson and views her experience as a stepping-stone to a career in inclusive education. In her free time, Victoria enjoys spending time with friends and family. She participates in adaptive sports such as skiing and sailing. Victoria loves to travel and has had the opportunity to speak French like a native in both France and Canada.
She is an amazing young woman who continues to inspire all those she comes in contact with. We congratulate Victoria on being honored as the Henderson Inclusion Alumni and Inclusive Educator. You have and continue to make South Boston proud!
If you would like to attend the Henderson Gala or make a donation to the school – visit: http://bit.ly/HendGala14