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Teacher achieves national recognition

(Susan Parker)
(Susan Parker)
Reported by: Susan Parker
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Updated: 1/14 7:05 pm
VERONA, Miss. (WTVA) -- Cat Hardy's heart is definitely in her work.

"It's really not about me. I try and give 110 percent to the kids, and this just opens up a new door and experience for me to give," Hardy said.

Two years ago, she came up with the idea to make custom costumes for wheelchair bound children.

"Everything has been held together with duct tape and cardboard and a lot of staples," Hardy said.

That combination means a world to the children.

The children can wear their costumes to the school's annual fall festival.  They will be in a parade that takes them through the entire school.

"A teacher who saw a need, who acted on that need to do something great for our boys and girls — I'm just overcome with joy," Verona Elementary Principal Temeka Shannon said.

She created the costumes because when children as well as adults come into contact with a child who is non-verbal or non-mobile, the interaction can be awkward.

"They have moans or cries or a lot of hand gestures for things that they want. Kids are kind of standoffish because they don't understand," Hardy added.

"It gives them an opportunity to become not so much the child in a chair. They are actually 'Erasing the Space,' as Jordan says," Rina Vasquez said.

That's the name Jordan came up with to help out his teacher who entered the "Kidd Kraddick I Have a Dream" contest.

"That was pretty deep for a fourth grader. I was really impressed," Hardy said.

Her idea for a non-profit along with Jordan's idea for a name would win the contest. That win will help her improve the costumes and offer them to more wheelchair bound children beyond her class.

"It brings the kids together and gives them a chance to come up and talk to them and see just because they have a disability, they can still be best friends," Hardy added.
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