7th Graders Develop Award-Winning ADA Website

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Five 7th grade girls who developed the award-winning ADA website

Earlier this year, five 7th grade students from Grisham Middle School in Austin, Texas participated in the National History Day competition. For their project, the students chose to focus on the Americans with Disabilities Act. Their project - a website titled "The Emancipation Proclamation for the Disabled" - placed first in their region, then went on to win second place at the national level. The following story was written by the five students: Khira Patel, Niti Malwade, Hamsini Nathan, Srija Reddy, and Devika Patel.

National History Day (NHD - www.nhd.org) is an educational program that allows kids to learn about historical topics in a fun and interesting way. Last year, as seventh graders we competed with over 2700 students and placed second at the national level of competition in College Park, MD. 

Based on the NHD theme of “Turning Point in History”, we chose the topic of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. It was such a significant event that changed the course of disability rights forever. The courage and determination of the disability rights community that fought for over thirty years to pass this law inspired us to choose this topic. 

Prior to the National History Day competition, none of us realized that people with disabilities had to fight for their rights. We were not aware of the hardships people faced and that they were denied the access to equal opportunities. We found that the Disability Rights Movement wasn’t as well known even though it was highly significant. Creating a website for this project would not only help us in our competition, but also inform others about this vital event in history. 

It was so amazing to see what a change the Americans with Disabilities Act made, not only in our communities, but how it has motivated others to fight for their civil rights. In fact, conducting this project has inspired us to continue helping the disability rights community by supporting The ADA Legacy Project. We are honored to have this opportunity. 

Pictured (with their medals) from left to right: Niti Malwade, Srija Reddy, Khira Patel, Devika Patel, Hamsini Nathan