Chance honored with Book of Golden Deeds

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 4, 2000

Staff Writer

The Troy Exchange Club has presented the Book of Golden Deeds Award to Troy Elementary School teacher James Chance.

For the past 22 years, Chance has educated multi-handicapped students. Some of the lessons he’s taught have included self-help skills to reading.

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During this past year, Chance had nine students between the ages of six and 10. Of those nine, five use wheelchairs, three are non-verbal and two have limited speech, three have the use of only one arm or hand, one is legally blind and one was autistic.

"We set goals and benchmarks for these students," Chance said. "They’re all unique."

Each student works at his or her level of ability through an individualized education program.

There are challenges in his classroom, but that makes the rewards even more precious.

This year, Chance experienced a great thing when three of his students, who have IQs of 40, started to read.

"That was very exciting," Chance said.

Although many might not have the patience to educate special needs children, Chance thoroughly enjoys what he considers a calling.

"I’m fortunate because I get to do what I love to do," Chance said.

His first experience with these "special" children was when he was in the Navy and visited orphanages.

Chance, who is a deacon at First Baptist Church in Troy, believes God wanted him to be a special education teacher.

"I feel God led me to do this," Chance said.

And, he has never been disappointed with following that path more than 20 years ago.

At that time, laws requiring school systems to provide education for the "retarded" were still new. Over the years, a lot has changed.

There have been "great strides" in special education.

"It’s gone from being like a babysitting service to being a full blown educational experience," Chance said. "These children have way more opportunities than they did even in the 80s."