Our schools, our students

Claire Worley thrives on lending a hand

Cascade Middle School student helps life skills students every day

By Megan Kehoe / The Bulletin

Claire Worley, 12

Cascade Middle School seventh-grader

Activities: Life skills classroom aide, volleyball, track and field

Favorite Movie: “Frozen”

Favorite TV Show: “Pretty Little Liars”

Favorite Book: “Island of the Blue Dolphins” by Scott O’Dell

On a recent field trip to Mt. Bachelor’s Snowblast Tubing Park, seventh-grader Claire Worley proved herself to be somewhat of a hero to her classmates.

Shortly after arriving, the Cascade Middle School life skills class discovered the tube pulley system had stopped working, meaning the group would have to hike up to the top of the hill.

It looked as though some students would be forced to miss out on the fun, as some of them couldn’t make the trek up the hill.

Then, Claire, a student aide in the class, stepped up to help.

“You should have seen her,” said Kristin Drew, a life skills educational assistant. “Not only was she carrying two tubes, she was carrying a student all the way up to the top. She’s just not the type of kid who’s there to socialize with friends — she’s really there to help the other kids. And that’s just an everyday type of occurrence.”

Claire, 12, shines in school for the way she treats her fellow classmates. According to Drew, Claire treats everybody with tremendous respect and kindness.

“She’s always willing to help, and she’s always willing to help with a smile on her face,” Drew said. “She just adapts very well to any situation thrown at her.”

Claire spends at least an hour of each school day helping those in the class for students with special needs. But Claire wasn’t just randomly assigned to be an aide in the class: She’s wanted to be a life skills aide since she first set foot in Bend’s Cascade Middle School.

“They don’t let sixth-graders be aides,” Claire said. “I was like, how come I can’t do that? Helping out seems like so much fun.”

Claire started volunteering in the classroom at the beginning of this year, and says it’s one of her favorite parts of the day.

“It’s just fun to work with them and teach them skills that I know, that they might want to know,” Claire said.

Aside from helping teachers in the classroom with whatever they might need, Claire helps fellow students learn pronunciation and also assists with student field trips.

Outside of the life skills class, Claire does very well in her academics, though she says some subjects don’t always come easily to her.

“I’m not good at spelling, but I get good grades in it because I get my work in on time,” Claire said, adding that her biggest difficulty in school is math.

Despite the occasional challenge , Claire earns mostly A’s and works hard for her grades. Outside of school, she also keeps busy playing volleyball and participating in track and field. And, she loves riding horses.

Not surprisingly, Claire dreams of becoming a teacher one day. She said she’s been inspired by the teachers in the life skills class.

“Working with kids every day just seems like a great job to me,” Claire said.

Drew said she continues to be impressed by the 12-year-old.

“She has an enormous amount of compassion for people in general,” Drew said. “That’s really refreshing to see.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0354, mkehoe@bendbulletin.com .