Doris Klaussen Developmental Center teacher Amy Schaub wanted her students to have the opportunity to interact with their non-disabled peers. Although there were many possible partner schools, she wanted to partner with the Battle Creek Area Catholic Schools.


“I knew in my heart having a class from BCACS would be the best peer model for my kids,” Mrs. Schaub said. “They would be able to show my students compassion, show them love, show them understanding, and see them as precious children of God, which they are.”

Mrs. Schaub knew this as a BCACS alumni, parent, and former teacher. She even knew the class she wanted to work with – St. Philip’s sophomore class.

St. Philip High School’s Class of 2021 and their buddies at Doris Klaussen Developmental Center.

“I’ve taught them in first grade, I’ve taught them in fourth grade, I’ve taught them in middle school,” Mrs. Schaub said. “I thought they would be a great group.”

She also wanted to give her former students an opportunity to learn from her current students.

“I wanted the St. Phil students to be able to experience the true joy, love, and fun that my students have to offer,” Mrs. Schaub said. “I loved my time at BCACS, and I miss being able to share my faith with my students, so I was excited to have that piece again.”

St. Philip Theology teacher Tony Wojcik was happy to help bring this idea to fruition. He has been working with students to see God in the world every day during a yearlong project called “The Fingerprints of God”.

“I told them, when you walk in that school you are going to see God everywhere,” Mr. Wojcik said. “I’ve long held that God places those children among us not as an example of how things have gone bad, but as an example of how we should live. They’re always perfectly happy and joyful, and they give pure love. Look in these kids faces, and you will see God.”

Before their first visit, Mrs. Schaub came to St. Philip to give the sophomores sensitivity training as her kids are nonverbal, multiply-impaired, and wheelchair-bound. Although the students asked good questions, she expected some jitters on their first day.

Mr. Wojcik noticed some nerves on the bus, but when the sophomores walked through the doors at DKDC all that changed.

“I was blown away,” Mrs. Schaub said. “From the start, the St. Phil kids embraced my students as their buddies, as their friends.”

Mrs. Schaub noted many kindnesses, including a young man having a conversation with her nonverbal student by watching for nonverbal cues.

“He was talking away as if he was any buddy at the cafeteria table,” Mrs. Schaub said. “I thought, this is why I picked this class. I knew this was what we would get.”

“I can’t believe how happy I am with how they conducted themselves,” Mr. Wojcik said.

Happiness, it seems, was the prevailing emotion of the day.

“Those kids are just so happy,” Harleen Deol said. “They are just normal kids like me and my classmates. I had a lot of fun, and I am extremely excited to go back with my classmates.”

“The happiness in those children’s eyes was just eye-opening,” Jordon Ruiz Jones Carter said. “I can’t wait to go back there and see them again.”

Every month the sophomores will join their DKDC buddies to be and see God’s fingerprints.

St. Joseph Middle School welcomes Our Lady
Mrs. Myers, the chicken and the person
Questions? Call Cathy Erskine at 269.963.1131