When Brandon Cassel walks through the hallways, he says “Hi” to everybody, and gives high fives to people he knows. One word to describe Brandon would be “positive.”
There are many things students don’t know about Brandon, one being that when he was six years old he had Meningococcal Meningitis, causing his right leg to be amputated.
“When it comes to my prosthetic leg, it’s not something many people know,” said Cassel.
Being a physically impaired student at Everett can have disadvantages, but social worker Holly Triestram said there can also be some positives.
“One advantage of being a physically impaired student at Everett in my eyes is being able to overcome personal barriers,” said Triestram.
With a prosthetic leg, walking around for long periods of time and having to walk from one end of the building to the other can be challenging. Sometimes when walking to class and having to climb the stairs can be a problem.
“The stairs sometimes can be a disadvantage for me,” said Cassel. “It can really be a disadvantage because sometimes I’m late to class.”
While Brandon doesn’t see himself as very different from the rest of the Everett population, he has had to make changes in his everyday life to complete simple tasks.
“If I have been walking around for awhile it will begin to hurt,” said Cassel. “So if I have been out with my family all day when I get home I’ll take off my leg and scoot around on the floor to rest my leg.”
While Brandon has found ways to rest his leg after spending a lot of time on it, he still has challenges with simple everyday things.
“One challenge I still struggle with today is basically when it comes to getting in and out of the shower,” said Brandon
Over the past three years Brandon has had a strong support system including some of his favorite teachers.
“Some of my favorite teachers are Mr.Carter from 21st Century, Mr.Harrington, and Ms.Holly,”
Many people who are physically impaired go on to be successful. Sudha Chandran is an amputee who went on to earn her Masters Degree in Economics. Chandran then became an accomplished and acclaimed dancer on the Indian Subcontinent. Being an amputee, won’t stop Brandon from reaching his goals. He takes Jim Allen’s first hour Video Production class.
“One of my goals is getting a job with something to do with photography or videography,” said Cassel. “By taking video production, it gets me closer to what I want to do when I get older.”
Brandon knows that his disability means that he may have to work harder for things. To him though, that can be a positive situation. His advice for others facing a similar situation is one of hope.
“I’d like them (students) to know it can be hard but I want to think of it as a positive thing to make them stronger,” said Cassel.