The Maine Developmental Disabilities Council recently presented the inaugural Inclusion Awards to five high school students, Cony High School teacher Tom Wells and Rep. Heather Sirocki, R-Scarborough, in the Hall of Flags of the State House in Augusta.

The Inclusion Awards recognizes student winners from an essay contest, a teacher and school for the most submissions, as well as outstanding public service on behalf of people with developmental disabilities. The following awards were presented:

• First Place Award: Molly Silsby, Cony High School.

• School with Most Submissions: Cony High School.

• Second Place: John Saffian, Greely High School.

• Third Place: Jaime Coull and Marlys Rietdyk, Cony High School.

• Teacher Award: Tom Wells, Cony High School.

• Honorable Mention: Brandon Whitney, Gorham High School.

• “Disabilities” by Brandon Whitney, performed by Avery Olmstead, MDDC member.

• Policymaker Award: Rep. Heather Sirocki.

This is the inaugural year for the Inclusion Awards which recognized schools, teachers and high school students who demonstrate and exceptional concept of a works in which all people are valued members of the community.

The awards are based on essays that addressed the questions: how has the American with Disabilities Act not yet been fully realized for people with Developmental Disabilities?; if the ADA was fully implemented, how might the world look differently for people with Developmental Disabilities?

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