Students with autism in the spotlight at Schurz High School

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago's Schurz High School put on its 4th annual Autism Awareness Assembly for a delighted crowd at the North Side institution.

It's a highlight for the performers and their peers who seek to make their school a paragon of acceptance.

From the traditional to the dynamic delivery of a Special Olympics torch, the rapturous crowd settled in to celebrate April's status as Autism Awareness Month.

"The sky's the limit with these students. A lot of these times people think that maybe they aren't capable of learning a dance," special education teacher Sophia Pappas said.

It took three months to get the 10-minute group dance medley down. Their discipline shows kids with disabilities can do anything.

"It was great to perform two shows and it was fun and we just had a wonderful time," senior Christian Arreola said.

The support was palpable and the emotion intense.

"Every year it seems to get better, and seriously, it's probably one of the highlights of my professional career," teacher Chris Baum said.

The show is designed to bring together those on the autism spectrum together -- with each other and other students.

"Everyone at Schurz High School is part of one community, no matter what corner of the organization you live in," Principal Anthony Rodriguez said.

Schurz has 26 students with disabilities ranging from autism to Down syndrome to cerebral palsy. It was incredible to see them absorbed and experiencing the joy of performance. null
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