It has been nearly 18 years since Catherine Kudlick first arrived in Littleton as a student at CCB, but the lessons of her training have endured, as she told staff and students in Philosophy Class last Thursday.
Cathy’s blindness is due to Nystagmus and she had never used a cane before she came for training. Still, she counted her travel training as one of the most important classes for her. She told students in frank terms about her internal struggles in that class under sleepshades.
“You ask yourself why you have to do this travel assignment. You hate it while you’re doing the travel, maybe getting turned around. But then you get there, and you know you did it. It’s an incredible feeling!”
Cathy was already a faculty member at the University of California-Davis but, as she told students and staff in Philosophy Class last Thursday she knew she needed blindness skills to continue to be successful in her academic career And to be around blind people to help her deal with the denial about her blindness and identity as a blind person. Besides, the course of her research in French History of the 19th Century had increasingly drawn her into the place of disability in history.
“Being here among others who were coming to terms with blindness and finding friends and Camaraderie helped her in long-lasting ways. One result was an end to the shame she’d felt around her blindness.
“You’re in a good place,” she told students, adding that she became choked up as she walked through the front door for the first time since 2001.
The things students gain at CCB are long-lasting and life-changing, she told them. “You carry that with you in your soul when you leave. Nothing can take that away from you.”
Now the Director of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability and Professor of History at San Francisco State University, Cathy took her own advice to students to gather it all in and embrace every challenge given them. She spent the afternoon in the wood shop with Instructor David Nietfeld.
“We didn’t have the shop when I was here,” she explained after making her first cut on the chop saw.
We didn’t. In fact, CCB had just moved to Littleton before Cathy arrived, and the wood shop didn’t have a place in the building that was still new to us until after she had already graduated in 2001.
Watch Cathy Kudlick in the Wood Shop: