White benefits from Dobson’s class
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
By Jacey Jacobs
It is rare to find a student whose life has been completely changed by a class,
but freshman Jena White is an exception.
Last semester, White was in Max Dobson's class, teaching the disabled child.
Taking the class opened her eyes, and because of the class, an opportunity to
make an impact presented itself.
During the semester, a couple of parents came to Dobson looking for someone to
teach their children swim lessons. He knew White was a lifeguard, and she
agreed to teach the lessons.
"The swim lessons are more like private lessons," White said. "All
the kids swim together but in their own lane. They are all unique and swim at
their own pace. They are so good."
Every Tuesday and Thursday morning from 9:30 to 10:30, White meets with two or
three boys and their parents at the Oklahoma Christian University pool for the
"We swim and do different activities to work out," White said. "Technically,
it's not swim lessons. I'm more of an encourager, sharpening their skills and
helping them get a work out."
Through her job, White has grown to love and respect the children she works
"This job has really been a privilege and blessing to me," White
said. "I don't think of these kids as disabled because I don't see their
Teaching the class makes White feel like she is making a difference.
White has learned multiple, valuable lessons through this experience and more
importantly, through the children she will never forget.
"I have learned that they look past the surface and see who you really are
and love you for that," White said. "I think we can all learn that
from them. They are always happy."
White strongly believes people should look beyond the exterior before judging
someone, especially children.
"I don't like the terms 'disabled' or 'retarded.' Most people shy away
from looking at who they really are and won't look past their disabilities,"
White said. "I have learned to look past people's differences and
look at somebody's heart before looking at their disabilities or flaws, whether
it be in personality or physical flaws."
The class has also impacted junior Katie Clayton's life in a monumental way.
"This class was one of my all-time favorite classes," Clayton said. "Just
being able to come and play with these wonderful kids is amazing. They teach
you so much about life and love. It's just incredible."
Clayton also agrees with White's position on looking beyond the surface.
"I believe that someone can miss out on so much if they don't look at who
the person really is. These children combat this issue everyday, and it's
refreshing to see their always smiling faces," Clayton said. "They
don't let the world get to them, and it's a beautiful thing."
White doesn't consider teaching the swim lessons a job. To her, it's just
playing with these kids and loving on them. Her humility is unmistakable.
"People think of my job and wonder how I do it, but really, they are
awesome and make you feel special," White said.
Not only do the children look up to White, but White also looks up to the
"They have taught me more then I have taught them about life in general,
and they give back to me more than I give to them," White said. "We
can all learn from them. They are just normal, great kids."