Lauren Bourgeois has had a love for the special needs community from a very early age.
"Growing up I was very close to an aunt of mine and she spent a lot of time staying with us," she says. "I was with her always helped her and I think i just got to have a special understanding and empathy for the special needs population."
The LEF Teacher Awards finalist says she hopes to pass that sense of empathy onto her regular ed students through peer-support physical education classes.
The classes, Bourgeois explains, are a two-in-one where juniors and seniors at Acadiana High work with special needs students during their adapted physical education class.
And her students say that, for them, the class is just like any other. One where friends come together to learn from the experiences of the other.
Bourgeois believes that fostering relationships between these students is an important step in bridging the gap where their differences lie.
She says the love in her classroom and the hope for a brighter future keeps her coming to school every day.
The Lafayette Education Foundation Teacher Awards ceremony takes place next Wednesday, January 29 at the Heymann Performing Arts Center.
The cost to attend is five dollars for students and teachers and ten for all other guests.
Tickets can be purchased at the Heymann Center box office or through Ticketmaster .