Student’s essay inspires

Student’s essay inspires

Al Key/DRC Emily Bettenbaugh-Harris holds her trophy for winning first place at the school, district and state competitions for PTA Reflections for her essay “Emily’s Autism,” which documents her challenges with autism. She is shown recently at her home in Providence Village.

By Britney Tabor

PROVIDENCE VILLAGE — Emily Betenbaugh-Harris is like other 11-year-old children.

She enjoys going to the park, playing, her stuffed animal collection, cartoons, coloring and taking her dogs for walks. She also has autism.

“My brain works different but I can believe, dream and inspire,” the fifth-grader wrote in a five-paragraph essay on her life with autism recently as an entry for the PTA Reflections program.

For the 2013-14 school year, students across the country were encouraged to submit dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts on the theme “Believe, Dream, Inspire” to the PTA Reflections program.

Emily’s essay, titled “Emily’s Autism,” is something she said she hoped would make others aware of autism. The essay went on to win top awards at her school, Providence Elementary School, from the school district and received the state PTA’s Overall Award of Excellence in literature category.

Her work advanced to the National PTA Reflections contest but fell short of receiving national honors.

“It was inspiring [to] me … to learn about autism and that’s why I needed to do something that was important to me,” Emily said of her essay.  Continue reading

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