Phoebe McFarland is a student at Hixson Middle School in the Webster Groves School District. Phoebe receives SSD services herself, but she is proving to be an ambitious partner for each student’s success.
Phoebe first began working with Laurie Dahle, an SSD physical therapist, eight years ago. A tumor, and the medical procedure that followed, affected Phoebe’s ability to walk, her speech and her ability to process information. Phoebe refused to let these challenges prevent her from participating in school.
“When she transferred to our school in the middle of the year, she was using a wheelchair and just learning to walk with the support of a walker,” Dahle said. “By the next year, she was walking around the school without assistance.”
While her individual progress was noteworthy, Phoebe became a champion for her classmates and peers receiving SSD services.
“She is her classmates’ biggest cheerleader,” Dahle said. “She takes students under her wing and helps them to be successful in the classroom and encourages them to push to achieve each new goal.”
Phoebe is also very engaged in extracurricular activities. She performs in community plays and recruits other students to join, as well. She’ll also bring tickets and playbills to share with students and teachers.
“She feels that if other students see the plays, they may get involved next time,” Dahle said.
Phoebe’s efforts to inspire her classmates has also made a lasting impact on her teachers.
“Every teacher needs a Phoebe in their life,” Dahle said. “She has what it takes to achieve her goals and to make a difference in this world.”