2018 Ambassador of the Week 2: Meet Stephen
April 14, 2018
2018 Ambassador of the Week: April 8 to April 14
Stephen Goodyear | Mount Olive, NJ
Stephen is a sophomore at Mount Olive High School and a member of the varsity high school cross country and track teams. He also plays the trumpet as a member of the school’s jazz ensemble and as part of his local church. He has been running competitively since fourth grade and have fallen in love with the sport, saying it has helped him come out of his shell. He also coaches a local track team. Stephen has been an Ambassador since the 4th grade in 2012.
How are you spreading awareness?
The main statement I am attempting to spread is about educational awareness regarding autism within our elementary school system. I wanted to speak to first-graders specifically because first grade is a true formative year for the young mind. I believe that if I can educate children about autism awareness early on in their development, then I can make an impact on their perceptions of people on the autism spectrum. In fact, my main inspiration for spreading autism awareness is to try and educate these young kids, as I remember when I was only a few years older than these children when I discovered I was on the spectrum. This was when I began to be self-conscious about my disorder and how it affected my everyday life.
What is it like speaking with students?
When I interact with the students, I feel a sense of accomplishment when I speak to them, as I feel that I am making a general impact regarding their perception of this disorder. When they ask me questions, the topics vary from personal inquiries such as when and how I learned I had autism to questions regarding the movement surrounding autism awareness, such as what the puzzle-piece ribbon means. However, the best part of speaking to these students is how quiet, respectful and open-minded they are, which sometimes I feel gets lost along the transition to adolescence and adulthood.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for after high school are to attend college and pursue a degree in history, which I will follow to my dream of gaining a PhD in history and becoming a respected college professor, as well as a respected academic. I hope to continue to make an impact on students attempting to reach a higher level of learning and understanding by attending university. I would also like to run competitively at the collegiate level. I would still like to keep playing the trumpet and to have art as a remaining pillar of my life.