Welcome to the Erin McKenzie
Virtual Welcoming Space
at Otterbein University's
Courtright Memorial Library
"Erin touched my soul and
helped me to see differently."
("Lessons from the Life of Erin McKenzie". Speakout: Colorado's Information Newsletter for Children With Disabilities, Winter, 2004)
The information contained in these pages provide a way to think differently about how we listen, observe, reflect, learn and share our stories.
Erin McKenzie may have lived a short life, but it was filled with activities and friends, whom she touched in many ways with her outstanding spirit. She attended Westerville South high school where, along with the support of her family, friends, and many teachers, she was always included. She enjoyed attending general education classes with her friends as well as enjoying all the traditional high school activities such as senior prom and graduation.
One of Erin's biggest loves was theatre. She was an active member of Thespian Troupe 513 at Westerville South. In her honor, they have renamed an annual award given to the two or three seniors who have contributed the most effort to the group and productions as the "Erin McKenzie Theatre Participation Award." Erin also was involved with the Otterbein University Theatre department. She served as an usher for numerous productions during each year. Erin enjoyed greeting guests and handing out programs. Erin was a joy to work with; her smile and laughter were infectious.
This virtual welcoming space promotes learning and discovery. It seeks to confirm and challenge old notions with new ones. It pulls together books, media, and information that encourage conversations and facilitate our discovery of one another's cultures, experiences, and struggles and how we are connected. The welcoming space celebrates the gifts and talents in each of us and helps us build inclusive communities where all are valued. Links to materials purchased in Erin's memory are included within the Bibliography page. Websites and other online materials are available on the Resources page.
The Erin McKenzie Virtual Welcoming Space is an outgrowth of the actual Erin McKenzie Welcoming Space at Westerville South High School, where many of the same books, videos, and DVDs available in our Welcoming Space also are available. Several photographs from the dedication of the Erin McKenzie Welcoming Space at Westerville South Media Center are available on the Video page.
Erin McKenzie's life mirrored the lofty goals of this virtual space (and the space in the Media Center at Westerville South). She, like the diverse literature and media surrounding us, was a source of learning. She confirmed the best of what we hope is present in the human spirit and challenged old notions by establishing new ones.