A “blue out” in support of classmate Zoey Senghas spread through Westwood Elementary School on May 16, then spilled outside.
Six-year-old Zoey was born with Angelman syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that is often misdiagnosed as cerebral palsy and affects roughly one in 15,000 people.
It primarily affects the nervous system, often leading to severe speech impairment, delayed development, difficulty moving, and mental disability.
The disorder was first described in 1965 by British pediatrician Harry Angelman.
Principal Erica Ward helped plan the blue out in warmer weather since Wellington students did not have class on Feb. 15, the annual date for International Angelman Day.
Zoey and her mother, Cindi Jackson, both smiled as a sea of friendly faces surrounded them in front of Westwood’s welcome sign, which read, “We support Team Zoey.”
“It feels wonderful just seeing everyone supporting her and showing so much love,” Jackson said.
At the start of the year, the Eagles Arie 2051 polar plunge raised $5,000 for the Angelman Syndrome Foundation. Zoey and her family led participants into freezing water.
“We sold a lot of blue bracelets for today too with mom’s help,” Ward said. “This is something we knew we wanted to do as soon as we knew there was no school that day in February. Then after hearing about the walk we knew it’d be a great time to come out and show Zoey how much we care.”