Teacher with no arms inspires students

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What draws prospective students to attend Radford University? Maybe it’s the small class sizes, beautiful campus or wonderful faculty. Another big contribution to what drew me and I’m sure for others is its diverse campus. The diversity spreads from student’s backgrounds, cultures and religions.
This wide diversity around campus makes it easy to find many differences and special talents in each student. Every student is so unique and we all have our own story. All throughout our college experience and in our lifetime, we will be exposed to other people’s ways of life.
A group of middle school students in Ohio are learning things in a little bit different way. 24-year-old Mary Gannon is a middle school math tutor, who faces some unique personal challenges. She was born without arms and proceeds to successfully conduct her classes by using her feet and toes.
Gannon was born in a Mexican orphanage and does not have access to her family medical history or her records. She does not know why she was born this way.
Gannon lives her life like any other young adult would. She dresses herself, cooks, drives and writes with her toes. She states she is “right footed” and there is not a chance she could read her writing with her left foot. She is truly remarkable.
Gannon is very open about her obvious “handicap”. She is more than willing to answer questions about her daily obstacles, especially towards her students who because of her openness, are extremely accepting of her.
The students to whom she tutors, and the parents of those children, are more than accepting of Gannon’s physical differences. Not only the students, but the school community where she tutors only has positive comments about her. Keith Ahearn, the principal at her workplace, says “she [Gannon] is an excellent teacher anyway, but she does it despite her disabilities.”
Gannon uses her experiences throughout her tutoring in helping the children learn that they can do anything they put their mind to. She devotes every part of her being to these students.   She does not accept the word “can’t”. The idea of trying is always her priority when it comes to educating her students. This mind set and motivation puts her on track to reaching her ultimate goal: becoming a full time teacher.
Gannon never lets her physical disability obstruct her from living her life to the fullest. She is an inspiration to all of us, college students especially because she has just entered the beginning stage in her career where we will be very soon. Gannon teaches us that no matter what life throws at us, if you put your mind to it, you can overcome. Also she shows everyone that we are all different, and that differences is what makes us human. All anyone can ask of you is to try your hardest to become the best that you can be!

Email:jsalzano@radford.edu