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Unity Awards. Celebrating those creating a world without bullying.

— 2023 Unity Award Recipient —

Grace Grell

St. Cloud, MN

Grace Grell is a college student graduating in May 2023 with a double major in Psychology and Communication Studies from St. Cloud State University (SCSU) in Minnesota. At three-years-old Grace was diagnosed with cancer of her optic nerves and optic chasm and became completely blind. Through aggressive chemotherapy, she regained some sight, but remained legally blind. During her entire youth, she was a target for bullying. She was mocked by her peers; told she was dumb and couldn’t do anything. Some teachers were not supportive. All she really needed in the classroom was assistive technology, but her peers didn’t understand that using magnifiers and screen readers didn’t mean she was less smart. It just meant she couldn’t see well. The sad fact was that after years of this bullying, she started to believe some of what they said was true. When she graduated from middle school, she learned her tumors had sparked up again, so she started a second round of chemotherapy. Due to continued bullying in high school, she left after junior year to enter the Post Secondary Education Option. She completed senior year of high school concurrently with her first year of college at SCSU. When she started in-person classes at SCSU and pulled out the tools she needed to be successful such as magnifiers, a monocular, screen readers, (all tools the blind use), her new peers didn’t point fingers or make fun of her. She has since prospered at college, has begun an internship, and volunteers as a coach. After graduation, Grace plans to provide therapy to families with children with disabilities and parents so they can all talk about disability and how it impacts them. Grace has received many awards and honors for her volunteerism and has been certified as a public speaker. She often speaks on the topics of bullying, inclusion, and people with disabilities.

Grace’s goal is to create a more inclusive world for everyone. Nominated by Polly Ann Grell

2023 Unity Award Acceptance