CEC Club: Helping Students with Disabilities Feel Included


The two teams coming together to receive the trophy and take a group picture.

By Andrea Espino, Staff Writer

CEC stands for Council for Exceptional Children. It is a club at Niles West designed to help raise awareness for disabilities, help raise money, and help classmates with special needs have fun in the school community. CEC club plans and throws all kinds of parties and guides the students of Niles West to form unbreakable bonds while also teaching them about disabilities.

“I joined CEC club because I heard all good things about it from curriculum and activities night when I was in 8th grade. Then freshman year my friends were in the club and we all though it would be such a cool way to connect with people and brighten people’s day overall,” junior Isabelle Padron said.

Some ways that CEC club has raised awareness for students was by holding fundraisers like bake sales and Blizzard sales.  They also meet to plan and throw amazing, unforgettable parties. They discuss what activities to do and even the music to listen to. In addition to this, sweatshirt and flyer designs are discussed and created. All of their sweatshirts, quarter zips, and both short and long sleeve shirts are all available!

CEC Club just threw their last Hawaiian-themed party with all of the students and had activities like scavenger hunts, drawing contests, and awesome dance parties all through zoom. Everyone dressed up for this exciting occasion and shared their joy through the screen.

“Having parties or events for our students with disabilities is one of the highlights of the clubs so a lot of time is put into planning and making it special,” sponsor Sarah Murphy said.

There are even CEC cheerleading and basketball events with students from both Niles West and North. Being able to see the students and their joyful smiles when they have parties or games brings so much happiness to the club members and reminds them how important this club is.

“The friendships I have formed with both teachers and students have been life changing and I am forever grateful for CEC and what is has given me,” junior Olivia Benyamin said.

During club meetings everyone comes together to share some fact or information about disabilities to help spread knowledge and awareness. Then they go over the appropriate ways to work within a classroom or at one of the CEC events.

CEC club’s goals for this year are to have more of a presence within the school and spread more awareness about people with disabilities. They would like to have a social media page that shares information and encourages students to join the club. CEC club continues to always promote inclusion within the school.

Although this year’s events looked different, their goal was to always create a place where everyone feels like they belong. They would love to continue to see the club grow and provide opportunities for all students.

CEC Club meets every other Thursday at 3:30 pm on Zoom, but they are hopeful to start meeting in person again next year! Meetings usually last around a half hour but parties and other events can go for longer.