The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 09, 2000, Page 3, Image 3

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    Pageant winner an advocate
Graduate speaks out for disabled people
By Margaret Behm
l Staff writer * • 7
Cathy Carver is using her title as
the first-ever Ms. Wheelchair
, Nebraska to speak out on behalf of dis
abled people.
Carver, a University of Nebraska
Lincoln graduate, won die state contest
in uecemoer, ana
she wilt compete
in the national
competition in
The Ms.
Pageant was
based on commu
nity service.
Carver Carver said.
“It has noth
ing to do with looks,” Carver said. “It’s
about the things you do in the commu
nity despite your disability.” (
Carver didn’t use a wheelchair
until she became paralyzed from the
waist down when a stack of plywood
fell on her at the age of 10, in 1968.
Carver said the way society deals
with her disability is a problem.
Even though the Americans with
Disabilities Act was passed 10 years
ago, many public
buildings are not
Carver said.
When Carver
enrolled at UNL, she
said she quickly found
out she had to arrange
classes around build
ing accessibility.
“The campus was
extremely inaccessi
ble, which was frus
trating. So I dropped
out,” Carver said.
She did secretarial
work for many years
before returning to
college at Iowa
Western Community
College. She received an associate’s
degree in substance abuse counseling
in 1991.
Carver decided to return to UNL in
the fall of 1993 to get a degree in ele
mentary education.
She thought that the campus would
be more accessible, but when she
returned she discovered the campus
still had problems.
For example Henzlik Hall, which
houses the Teachers College, had no
elevators, she said.
“I still have to laugh because the
campus hadn’t gotten as far as I
thought it would,” Carver said.
Many buildings outside the univer
sity need to be more accessible as well,
Carver said.
It I used to
be shy to be
on the dance
floor because
of the way I
look, but now
I don’t care
Cathy Carver
MS. Wheelchair Nebraska
^ When I didn’t have this title I felt
like I was yelling in the wind. Now I
have a vehicle to spread the message
to design buildings for all people .”
Cathy Carver
Ms. Wheelchair Nebraska
Because of her Ms. Wheelchair
Nebraska title, Carver said she thinks
more people will listen to her about
making buildings accessible for every
“When I didn’t have this title I felt
like I was yelling in the wind,” Carver
said. “Now I have a vehicle to spread
the message to design buildings for all
After she became paralyzed in
1968, Carver said she wasn’t treated
differently after the accident until she
tried to return to her school.
“I really never felt handicapped, to
be honest, until I went back to school,”
Carver said.
Carver was told that she would
have to go to a school for disabled chil
“I didn’t feel like I needed to be
segregated, earver
said. “At that age I did
n’t feel like I should
have been separated
from my childhood. It
was yanked from me.”
She was not
allowed to be educated
in a school not focused
on just the disabled
until she was in the
seventh grade.
Some teachers
feared she might hurt
herself if she took
classes like home eco
nomics, Carver said.
“It’s a fear of what
you don’t know,”
Carver said “If there’s
anything that’s different about you,
people will flip out.”
Carver went on to face another
challenge after she bought a motorcy
cle and adapted it by creating hand
brakes and adding a side car for her to
sit in.
The Transportation Department
didn’t make license plates denoting
disability for motorcycles, Carver said.
“People thought that handicapped
people didn’t ride motorcycles,”
Carver said. “People assume that peo
ple in wheelchairs can’t do certain
She contacted Sen. David Landis
of Lincoln to have a bill written to pro
duce the license plates.
Carver spoke to the Transportation
Committee about the license plates,
Landis said.
“Cathy telling her story was proba
bly the most important thing for getting
the bill passed,” Landis said.
Carver said she brought in pictures
to prove that disabled people could ride
“I brought pictures in with me on a
bike,” Carver said. “Our state didn’t
think that was possible, but it is.”
Carver said she has also defied
expectations in her other activities.
Last June, she went parasailing in the
Bahamas and dancing.
“I used to be shy to be on the dance
floor because of the way I look,”
Carver said. “But now I don’t care.”
Carver currently is looking for
sponsors to cover the cost of traveling
to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to represent
Nebraska at the Ms. Wheelchair
America Pageant in August.
Carver said that she looks forward
to being asked to speak for various
“Hopefully I’ll get some chances to
be a keynote speaker,” Carver said.
“That will prepare me for all the ques
tions I’ll get bombarded with at nation
The Nebraska program is based on
the Ms. Wheelchair America Program,
which was started in 1974 in
Columbus, Ohio. The non-profit pro
gram is coordinated by volunteers
throughout the nation.
The Ms. Wheelchair America
Board and Elysse Power, state coordi
nator, chose Carver to be this year’s
Nebraska representative.
About 20 to 25 states participate in
the program, said Power, who started
the Ms. Wheelchair competitions for
Nebraska and New York.
In September, a new Ms.
Wheelchair Nebraska will be chosen.
“It’s a great way to meet other
women in wheelchairs,” Power said.
“Then you will start to see the abilities
of people with disabilities, not just the
negative aspects.”
Carver said that she is happy with
her accomplishments because despite
some obstacles, she has achieved a lot.
“When I look back on my life I am
proud of myself,” Carver said. “Not
just because I’m disabled and over
came obstacles, but even as a human
being I can be a good role model.”
Area employers on campus for fair
■ UNL’s career fair a
place to look at jobs, meet
prospective employers.
From staff reports
More than 100 businesses and
organizations will be at the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
today to help with Career Services’
spring career fair.
The fair, part of a day called
Career Kaleidoscope, will be in the
Nebraska Union Centennial Room
from 1 to 6 p.m.
Christina Fielder, a career fair
coordinator, said the annual career
fair is open to all students and alum
Employers from non-profit orga
nizations, the government and private
businesses will be at the fair.
Students wishing to interview
with employers at the fair should
bring a resume and research the orga
nizations they are interested in.
Students should keep in contact
with the employers they speak with at
the career fair by sending thank-you
After the career fair, students
seeking more information should
contact Career Services at 230
Nebraska Union and attend any
future events where the employer will
Two other career-related events
will take place today as well.
There will be a discussion from
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the
Nebraska Union about careers in
criminal justice. The brown bag dis
cussion is sponsored by the Criminal
Justice Students Association.
After the career fair, there will be
a Students of Color Recruiter
Reception in the Nebraska Union
Regency Room from 6 to 8 p.m.
Jake Kirkland, of Career
Services, and the Students of Color
Career Advisory Committee orga
nized the opportunity for minorities
and recruiters to get acquainted in a
more relaxed atmosphere.
More than 60 representatives
from businesses and non-profit orga
nizations will be at the reception.
, News rules at the Daily Nebraskan
where it goes from god to jerry to kent to the cleaners to the us
This is my last try, Roxanne...
either be my Valentine or kick out the chair!
Joshua Bell, Violin
'it ~
The next generation of
violin virtuosos.
Joshua Bell is a
critical and audience
favorite. (He was
recently associated
with the films The
Red Violin and Music
of the Heart.)
February 13,
7 pm
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with doZi^businesst?
enchanting music and a chance
Misty’s Restaurants
to win some romantic prizes! 6235 Havelock Ave. • 466-8424
Concert-goers may register to 56th & H,*hwa> 2 ‘ 423-2288
wm dinner at Misty s; flowers 127 s 13th Stree,. 476.7602
from Danielson Floral Co.; a Suzanne E. Border, lmt
heart-shaped box of candy from , BuJ°Vn
Lincoln Trade Center
Sugar Plum Candies; a body 6031 S 58th Street • 421-8548
massage from Suzanne Border, Sugar Plum Candies
IliT r c t • i 5500 Old Cheney • 420-1900
LMT, a European Spa Facuil 333 ^ Corner Blvd. • 466-1236
from Skin Care Etc.; a gift skin Care Etc.
certificate to Gateway Mall; L‘"c°'n ^ade *;enter n7,7
J J 6031 S. 58th St./Suite A • 423-9727
tickets to see Harry Belafonte ^ .. „
J J Gateway Mail
in concert and more! 61 st and “O” Streets
Lied Center for Performing Arts
Lincoln, NE
Tickets: 472-4747 or
Box Office: 11:00am-5:3Opm M-F
Lied Center programming is supported by the Friends of Lied and grants from the National Endowment lor the Arts,
Mid-America Arts Aliance and tie Nebraska Arts Council. Al events are made possible by the Lied Perfor
ms mance Fund which has been established in memory of Ernst F. Lied and his parents. Ernst M. and Ida K. Lied.
| University of Nebraska-Lincoln
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution.