by Nat Frothingham
Maureen Charron-Shea is a speech and language pathologist at Harwood Union High School and last fall started the first Vermont (high school) chapter of an international organization called “Best Buddies.” Founded in 1989 by Anthony Shriver, Best Buddies encourages one-on-one friendships between high school students, where one student extends the hand of friendship to another student who has a disability.
After she announced the Best Buddies program at Harwood, the first person at her door was Dylan MacIsaac, a senior who will be going on to the University of South Carolina next fall to study business and finance. Dylan formed a friendship with Zach Brown, another Harwood student with a disability. According to Dylan, their friendship became “an everyday thing.” They would greet each other in the school hallway, and the two of them got together outside of school. On one occasion they went bowling with other students at Twin City Lanes in Berlin and got pizza afterwards.
Dylan said that his friendship with Zach has “opened him up to people you wouldn’t always open up to.” Dylan said that his understanding of friendship has also been deepened. “Friendship,” he said, “is about making sure not just that you are happy, but that the person you are with is happy too.”