Megan Roseman gets pretty emotional when she talks about the way people treat her brothers.
“So many people make fun of them,” she said, tearing up. “I don’t understand why people would treat other people like that.”
Two of Megan’s three brothers are autistic, a mental condition that affects speech and behavior. Her experience living and playing with her brothers led Megan to join a program at Dorris Intermediate School in Collinsville to work with younger children in special-education classrooms at nearby Renfro Elementary, and began to form her plans for college and beyond as a special education teacher.
That’s Megan’s favorite time: working with second-grade special-education students, especially during silent reading time.
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It was that work that led to Megan’s nomination to the Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington D.C. Megan had organized some friends to make bracelets and sell them to raise money for autism awareness. The project caught some attention, and Megan was nominated for the conference.
“It struck me that this is one I really wanted to do,” Megan said. “I feel it is one of my callings, to lead.”
There’s a catch: the trip costs an estimated $3,000. Megan applied for a scholarship, but won’t know for a while whether she receives it. Even if she does, it only reduces her cost by $750.
She has until May to make the payments, but April 4 is the cancellation deadline for getting back the money she’s already paid.
So far she’s raised $550.
I was really proud of how hard she wanted to work. People are impressed by the fact that she didn’t want just handouts.
Lisa Roseman about her daughter Megan Roseman
Her mother, Lisa Roseman, said at first they said it just wasn’t possible; the cost was just too high. But Megan came up with the idea of hiring herself out to work for the money: housecleaning, wrapping Christmas presents, babysitting, tutoring and pet-sitting.
“I was really proud of how hard she wanted to work,” Roseman said. “People are impressed by the fact that she didn’t want just handouts.”
Word is spreading now online, and Megan is hopeful she will get enough work to raise the money for the trip. “It’s been bigger than I expected,” she said.
The trip will give Megan a chance to visit museums in D.C. with a focus on something she’s passionate about. “Their classroom is Washington D.C.,” her mother said.
In the meantime, Megan loves spending time with her brothers and her friends and doing things outdoors. “I love climbing trees and doing the monkey bars upside down and backward,” Megan said.
“I don’t watch,” her mom said.
Megan is an avid reader and a straight-A student who loves to write, winning at the county and state level for the Young Authors competition. She hopes to earn her way through college by tutoring so that she can become a special-education teacher and help other children like her brothers.
“I want to be there for them,” she said. “With my brothers, there are people who will make fun of them, who use words like ‘normal’ … They are different, not less.”
Meet Megan Roseman
- Age: 11
- School: Dorris Intermediate School, Collinsville Unit 10
- Grade: 5th
- Town: Collinsville
- Parents: Lisa and David Roseman
- Siblings: Zachary, Andrew and Joshua
- Clubs/activities: Band, chorus, Renfro Runners (working with elementary students), youth group at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church
- Awards: County and state winner for Young Authors, honor roll, Delta Epsilon Excellence Award for citizenship and academic performance
- Favorite class: Reading
- Pasttimes: Spending time with her brothers and friends, playing outdoors, reading, arts and crafts, visiting the library and museums.
- Future plans: College to become a special education teacher
- Advice for fellow students: “Reach for the stars and follow your dreams. Don’t underestimate yourself and don’t let other people hurt you… Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.”
- Anyone interested in hiring Megan (with her family’s supervision) should contact Lisa Roseman at firstname.lastname@example.org.