Then: Yes I Can Award Recipient. Now: CEC Volunteer Leader.
Michelle Brand Buchanan
1993 Yes I Can Award Recipient
CEC-TAG Board Member
Leadership CEC Participant
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) has been a constant support in my life for quite some time. My CEC story begins in upper elementary school. My declining academic performance in fourth and fifth grades alerted my parents to seek help. I was fitted with my first hearing aid at age 11, and I immediately demonstrated my true academic capabilities. Even with hearing aids, I had (and still have) a mild to moderate hearing loss, so my school district acquired an audio trainer, which I used in the classroom and band hall. I became a Texas All-State Solo Artist and an All-State Band performer during high school. In the spring of 1993, I received a letter from the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) acknowledging I was one of the 36 recipients from the United States and Canada awarded the Yes I Can Award for the Arts category.
My music took me to college, where I performed at the University of North Texas. I graduated in 1998 with a degree in education, and the educator chapter in my CEC story began. As an educator, I have relied upon CEC to increase my knowledge of exceptional children and provide me with resources to use in my classroom. Additionally, CEC has helped me address the academic and social-emotional needs of my students with exceptionalities, including students who are twice-exceptional.
When my career shifted to higher education, I began the service chapter in my CEC story. I became a volunteer for The Association for the Gifted (TAG) - a CEC special interest division. In my service with the CEC-TAG Board as the Public Relations Coordinator, I continue supporting students with exceptionalities and preparing teachers to support students with exceptionalities.
Now, I begin another chapter in my CEC story. I represent CEC-TAG in the inaugural cohort of the Leadership CEC program, where I am able to collaborate with exceptional leaders as we continue to find ways to support students with exceptionalities though CEC units and divisions.
As I reflect on receiving the Yes I Can Award, I remember how this recognition of my talents encouraged me to set lofty goals with the confidence that I could reach those goals. Additionally, my experiences as a K-12 learner with multiple exceptionalities allow me to share with my teacher candidates’ personal stories on how my path as a Yes I Can Award recipient helped me achieve my dreams in music and academics. As an educator, I try to encourage my students and teacher candidates to use challenges as opportunities to build their own story to share with their students.