Chapter 25 begins with the continuation of the championship round of the quiz competition. Melody’s team wins and gets to go to Washington DC. She is very excited. Her biggest thought at the time is that maybe by proving how smart she is, more kids at school will talk to her. It makes me think about the “special ed” students at my school. Do they think that they need to prove themselves to be recognized? While Melody can’t blend in due to her obvious physical differences, she often must feel like she’s invisible. How often in our own lives, do we turn the other way when someone looks different than the “norm” ? Do we write them off as not intelligent due to the way they look or talk?
In chapter 26, the team decides to go to a restaurant to celebrate. The first obstacle that Melody and her mom run into is that the restaurant is not wheelchair accessible (except for broken elevator). Then came the food. Melody did not know how the other students would react when they saw her being fed by her mom. Even though Melody had been fed her whole life, she was embarrassed now because it singled her out.
Chapter 27 opens with Melody’s mom showing the picture of her in the newspaper following the competition. Instead of being excited, Melody is not happy. The article does talk about her being an outstanding member of the team, but also mentions her cerebral palsy. Melody thinks that her teammates will hate her because the article focuses on her. Melody is probably wondering if she is specifically mentioned and photographed because of her disabilities and not her abilities. This is a stark reminder that we should focus on what a person can do and not what they can’t.