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A champion of inspiration

WELL DONE: IWU Human Communication student Mason Metzger poses for a photo. Metzger will receive the the 2019 "Yes I Can Award" from the Council for Exceptional Children.

By Clay Winowiecki - cwinowiecki@chronicle-tribune.com

Indiana Wesleyan University student Mason Metzger was recently recognized with an international 2019 "Yes I Can Award" from the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

Metzger, who is from Silver Lake and a sophomore studying Human Communication, was diagnosed at birth with spastic cerebral palsy. He has gained recognition for giving inspirational presentations based on his personal challenges and experiences.

“Being recognized by the CEC for my advocacy efforts is humbling and it serves as a milestone as I grow into the person that God created me to be,” Metzger said in a prepared statement.

The Yes I Can program recognizes the accomplishments of 12 students with exceptionalities in six categories: academics, arts, school and community activities, self-advocacy, technology, and transition.

Metzger's award was won in the self-advocacy category.

“Although recognition is not everything, it shows me that people are being impacted by my story and that I am truly making a difference,” Metzger said. “The development of my self-advocacy skills have afforded me the opportunity to blaze the trail for others with specialized challenges.”

Metzger was first invited to be the keynote speaker at the Warsaw Community Schools All Staff Convocation in August 2014. During his presentation, Metzger spoke to more than 500 professionals about pursuing his dream and enriching the lives of others.

Since, Metzger has spoken to more than 50 audiences such as elementary, middle and high schools.

In 2015, Metzger was the keynote speaker for the Grace College Disability Awareness Week, which was hosted by the Grace College Chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children.

In addition, Metzger was invited to speak on the House floor of the Indiana State House of Representatives in 2017.

“Mason delivered an amazing inspirational speech to the Indiana House of Representatives,” said Curt Nisly, Indiana State Representative, in a prepared statement. “He told us that through teamwork and unity we can accomplish great things.

“He brought us to laughter and got a standing ovation from the entire chamber,” Nisly added.

Metzger’s inspirational speeches have been centered on a variety of topics, many which stem from his personal challenges and experiences.

“We are flattered that we have a student that won this award,” said Sandra Cash, director of accessibility and accommodation. “It’s a big honor for our university, as well that, we have such a great leader.”

Cash said Metzger is always advocating for other people who have disabilities and said when she heard he had won the award it “made total sense.”

Metzger will accept the "Yes I Can Award" on Feb. 1 at the CEC 2019 Convention & Expo in Indianapolis.

The CEC is the professional association of educators dedicated to advancing the educational success of children and youth with exceptionalities that accomplishes its mission through advocacy, standards and professional development. To learn more, visit www.cec.sped.org.