The Thorpes moved to Shaker two years ago, specifically for services for Myah. “We felt she would have a better
chance to progress and we were right. She has a phenomenal team and a Braille teacher who support and challenge her
but they don’t let her get to the point where she says that she can’t do something,” says Ronda.
Zumyah is still adjusting to her blindness and Braille has not come easy. “They’re teaching her how to read Braille
menus and other life skills, like finding a public bathroom, but there are challenging moments,” Ronda says. “But at
school, she loves going to choir and to adaptive PE and she’s learned to swim. She also goes to the lunchroom and eats
with everyone else and all her friends.”
Instruction aide Maurine Loveman worked with Zumyah when she first started at the Middle School. At first,
Zumyah was timid, but then she began to take command of the school’s crowded hallways. Although her aide was
never far, Maurine remembers watching Zumyah leave the auditorium and walk confidently beside her typical peers.
“She is absolutely fearless. I’ve never heard her complain,” Loveman says. “There are times when I have to protect
SHAKER LIFE | FALL 2017 51
her from people who want to give her too much help.”
Loveman also works with Zumyah in the Extended School Year (ESY) program during the summer. The half-day
ESY program helps students who qualify for services to maintain the life and academic skills through the summer
months. “I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything,” Loveman says. “She is amazing.”