Going to school, with a difference | May 20, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - May 20, 2011

Going to school, with a difference

Palo Alto teens with Tourette Syndrome learn to tell their stories

by Chris Kenrick

It's not easy for a teenager to be different, let alone stand up in front of a class at school to talk about it.

This story contains 743 words.

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Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be emailed at ckenrick@paweekly.com.


Posted by terryg, a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm

I am soooo impressed by both these young men. Good for them for helping others in their shoes by standing up and speaking up.

Posted by Lynette, a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 21, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Way to go Peter and Mark! You are truly ambassadors. Thank you for educating us about Tourette Syndrome.

Posted by Michele Dauber, a resident of Barron Park
on May 21, 2011 at 8:13 pm

I admire you for your courage. Thank you for helping to destigmatize brain and neurological problems so that others can learn about them. I wish I'd been half as mature and brave when I was in middle school.

Posted by Karin Bloom, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on May 21, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Thank you Peter and Mark. Applause and admiration.

Posted by George, a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 22, 2011 at 4:03 pm

This is courage and leadership, in action! Excellent work, young men! I can't begin to convey how proud it makes me to have one of these fine gentlemen in my neighborhood, helping to led the way toward enlightening their fellow humans, and bringing more understanding to our world. Applause!

Posted by Joy, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 23, 2011 at 9:31 am

A wonderful story.

Posted by sarah, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 23, 2011 at 10:17 am

Bravo to both boys. You are truly remarkable leaders. I wish everyone would support and honor you and your achievements.

Posted by Miriam Palm, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 23, 2011 at 10:53 am

Hallmark made an excellent film about Tourette, based on a real story, that acquainted me with this condition. I recommend it to all. The performances are excellent, especially Jimmy Wolk, who plays the teacher.

The triumphant story of Brad Cohen, a man who overcomes incredible obstacles to become a gifted teacher, is inspired by a true story. When he was growing up, Brad (Jimmy Wolk) started making funny noises – all the time. Only Brad – and his supportive mother (Patricia Heaton) – knew he couldn’t control it. He was teased, misunderstood and punished for disrupting class. By the time he is diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, Brad had learned to hate school. When an understanding school principal offers encouragement, amazingly Brad decides to become a teacher – the teacher he never had. But who in their right mind would put someone with Tourette’s in front of the class? After 24 schools turned him down, Brad refused to give up. Discover what happens when one school finally gives him a chance. Brad Cohen’s resilience and determination changed his life. His story may change yours.
Stars: Jimmy Wolk, Treat Williams and Patricia Heaton
Running Time: Approx. 110

Posted by PA Mom, a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 23, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Great story. More like it, please.

Well done Peter & Mark!

Posted by Linda Baker, a resident of JLS Middle School
on May 23, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Well done! We're proud of you!

Posted by Daryce Peterson, a resident of another community
on May 28, 2011 at 1:13 pm

I am a resident of Redwood City and an active member of a Palo Alto church. I do not know Mark and I do not know Peter well. However, I am writing this to tell both of you how much I admire your courage! You are, indeed, remarkable leaders and you speak for so many people who are unable or too embarrassed to speak for themselves.

For anyone interested in knowing more, I remember a movie "The Tic Code" made in 1997 (that is now on Netflix)about Tourette Syndrome with Chris Marquette, Gregory Hines and Polly Draper. It touched my heart and helped me to understand the plight of a young friend.

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