Underdogs succeed at Oakland

By Katie Wolf

The end of the semester is quickly approaching and with this being the last issue of The Post, I thought I would take a minute to congratulate all of the seniors on their upcoming graduation. There is one person that I wish to acknowledge separately, and that would be Micah Fialka-Feldman, or as we just know him Micah.

Micah has a cognitive disability, and is set to get his certificate at the end of this semester, finishing his odyssey and completing his education. I look at Micah and what he has accomplished and smile. He inspires us all to do greater things. I should know. In some ways, I used to BE Micah.

I was placed in a school for the emotionally impaired when I was 6 years old, and I stayed there until I was 14 and it was hell from the start. I was told by my own principal that I would never finish high school. There were many times I was very close to integration, and wound up the next semester back at the beginning. I started to have my own doubts if I could ever handle being in a “normal” school.

Finally, when I got to Rockwell Junior High, I got my chance. After another argument with staff I asked to speak with the principal. I told her politely that I wanted out of the program and was ready to handle the pressure of going to a regular school, and she agreed. Within 14 months I was going full time to a regular school, and wound up getting my diploma four years later.

The odds of someone even graduating from a regular school were low, going to college was even more astronomical, and going to a university was unheard of.  I enrolled and got my Associate of Arts at Macomb, and I could not have been more proud.

When I decided to check out universities, after the first time I stepped on Oakland University’s campus I fell in love. I got accepted here in fall of 2009, and I have never looked back. To me, this is a mission to complete a life-long dream. I was often told that I couldn’t, and that I shouldn’t try. I was often “the underdog.”

Oakland has that same kind of mentality. We won the Summit League championship this year and got no respect. While our school is fantastic, they are often overlooked by Michigan and Michigan State in just about everything. With Micah, I guarantee not many would have said he could finish school at a university. I know that’s what people said about me.

Finally, OU’s motto is to “seek virtue and knowledge,” and I sincerely hope the university allows more students with disabilities to attend classes. Failing to do so would go against the very nature of the foundation that our school was built on. There are always people like Micah and myself who want to enrich our lives, and finish something that many told us would be impossible.

This is Oakland. Anything is possible if we just believe.

Editor’s Note: To read a letter from Micah Fialka-Feldman’s parents, please visit the Perspectives section at oaklandpostonline.com.