Autism Speaks Comes to the High School

Aidan Sarazen Staff Writer For Latin, the 2012-2013 school year brings back old tradition, along with new opportunities and fresh ideas. New, different clubs manifest these opportunities and ideas this year. One club, Autism Speaks, will make its first appearance on the club scene this year. Although it may be challenging for it to compete for the participation of students, as there are still many other exciting, returning clubs, Autism Speaks brings a lot of fun and excellent volunteer opportunities to the table. Autism Speaks, outside of the Latin community, is an organization that raises money to support people with Autism, as well as to raise money for the research of Autism. Whether helping people directly, or just raising money to find treatments, Autism Speaks has the overall goal of improving the lifestyle of those affected by Autism, and those close to the Autistic individual. The importance of the organization is clear, as the commonness of Autistic children is only getting higher and higher. Autism has become quite prevalent in society, as it affects one in 88 children (1 in 54 boys). These numbers of occurrences are growing. Children are more frequently diagnosed with autism each year than with AIDS, diabetes, and cancer combined. Through the leadership of sophomores Miles Baker and Philip Demeulenaere, Autism Speaks will obtain support from the Latin School of Chicago. Starting a few years back, Autism Speaks made its way into the Latin community through the middle school. Middle school students, with the help of Ms. Bonneau, formed an Autism Speaks club. Fundraisers and volunteer opportunities ranged from selling flavored ice popsicles during lunch periods and after school, to trips to Misericordia to play basketball with the residents. The participation was strong in the middle school, but only with the class of 2015. When the class of 2015 graduated from the middle school, the club fell apart. Now, the Autism Speaks club is being brought back to the high school. When I asked Miles and Philip about the club, they were hopeful about the forming of the club, but nervous about a few aspects. They were a little anxious, as Miles said that “finding interest, new members, and an adequate time and place to host the club” would be difficult. After the clubs fair, though, their anxieties were eased, as they got 54 students to sign up for the club. According to Philip, some of the most compelling aspects of the club, besides raising money for Autism, are the “donuts, down to earth people, and the fact that it is student run”. The arrival of the Autism Speaks club at Latin brings a new opportunity for Latin students to help brighten the day of many autistic individuals. It is an extraordinary addition to the plethora of clubs that Latin has to offer.  ]]>