Oscar a role model for students with disability

In Disability Recognition Week Sophie Lambert meets the inspirational school captain at Emerton Public School.

A photo of a boy wearing a lei. A photo of a boy wearing a lei.
Image: Emerton Public captain Oscar Griffiths at the school’s 2024 Harmony Day celebrations.

For Oscar Griffiths, school captain of Emerton Public School, having autism is one of the things his friends love most about him.

Oscar’s fellow students elected him captain and he is hugely popular with the entire school community.

He’s been a student in the school’s support unit since starting kindergarten in 2018 and has grown in confidence supported by school staff and students.

Principal Nathan Smith said Emerton Public School focused on a whole-school approach to improving the learning outcomes of every student.

“Oscar is an outstanding role model for all students and should be extremely proud of his amazing achievement,” Mr Smith said.

“We’ve always said at Emerton our kids are very tolerant of difference.

“I’ve never seen this more evident than when Oscar was elected school captain by the great majority of his peers.”

Oscar loves playing bass guitar in the school rock band when he is not busy coordinating projects for the Student Representative Council. 

“I was surprised to be made school captain and didn't really know how that happened at all,” Oscar said.

He is working on perfecting his public speaking skills and loves greeting all the teachers and student learning support officers each morning.

"When I first came here, I didn't talk a lot at all. I talk a lot now,” Oscar said.

“I love being school captain because I get to talk on the microphone.”

Oscar said he enjoyed the variety of leadership roles.

“I think I do pretty well at things,” he said.

Approximately 26 per cent of students in NSW public schools (about 206,000 students) have a disability as defined under the Disability Discrimination Act.

Of these, 86 per cent learn in a mainstream class, 11 per cent attend support classes in mainstream schools, and three per cent attend schools for specific purposes.

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