One of Fulton Public Schools' own was honored as a top special education teacher on Friday.
Kara Wilkerson has worked for the district for five years. Last year, she was invited by a friend to help with Bright Christmas, a special Christmas party in California for children with special needs. There, she caught the eye of coordinator Frank Gayaldo Jr., founder of the World Autism and Savant Foundation.
"Some of these kids couldn't swallow, let alone speak," Gayaldo said. "We managed to throw them a great Christmas party."
On Friday, Gayaldo presented Wilkerson with the Robbin's Angels award, recognizing her as an exemplary educator and autism advocate. Wilkerson has also worked with the World Autism Organization.
"(Our organization) is focused on a massive project, and that project is to bring the best techniques in special education to the world," Gayaldo said. "The very, very best happens to be right here in Fulton, Missouri."
During the ceremony at the Fulton Education Center, which was followed by a dance party, Gayaldo also presented awards to FPS and the Callaway Chamber of Commerce for "helping bring awareness of individuals with special needs."
Fulton Mayor LeRoy Benton read a proclamation honoring Wilkerson for her "tireless, exemplary leadership and compassion."
Wilkerson expressed gratitude and said she's doing what she loves.
"I love the challenges every day, and the way no day is the same," she said. "I also love the successes: seeing them after 30 minutes in my classroom start to make connections where they hadn't before at home, or start to verbalize and communicate."
She pointed out October is Disability Awareness Month, and FEC will be tweeting to raise awareness all month long. The school also had a disability awareness rodeo Friday evening.