My husband started watching MasterChef US a few months ago and by the end of the first season, he had me hooked.

MasterChef is a reality show hosted by Gordon Ramsay, where home cooks compete in a series of cooking challenges hoping to avoid elimination each week from a panel of celebrity chefs, and ultimately win the title and a prize of $250,000.

Like all good reality TV, MasterChef delivers authentic characters with strong personalities along with a healthy dose of conflict, competition, and drama. Each episode offers a variety of personal stories woven through individual and group competitions where the cooks must show skill, creativity, and time management. There’s the mystery box challenges, team challenges, and the dreaded elimination pressure test. It is a journey of highs and lows, surprise twists, and second chances.

And isn’t that a slice of what life is like?

So, is MasterChef more than just entertainment?

Yes! It’s also inspirational.

Blindness Didn’t Stop Her

As my husband and I eagerly settled into watching season three, we were shocked to witness a blind person being guided into the audition room. Like the judges, we wondered out loud how someone without sight would be able to compete in a cooking contest.

Christine Ha lost her vision due to an autoimmune disease in her early adulthood and had re-learned how to live with the disability. She impressed the judges with her cooking, earning her an apron and a shot at the MasterChef title. To accommodate her disability, Christine was supported by an aide who collected supplies, acted as her guide, and answered her cooking questions when sight was needed.

Each episode Christine faced incredible challenges in navigating her cooking spaces, other contestants, and her own self-doubt. She was tenacious and determined, not excusing her poor performance on her disability.

One of the elimination challenges had her working with a live crab that pierced her finger, yet she created one of the top three dishes! It was incredible to see her grow as a home cook and rise in the ranks. I won’t share spoilers here; you will have to watch the show (or look it up) to see how the season ended.

Since the show, Christine broke barriers in the culinary industry as a blind cook, authoring a cookbook, and opening two restaurants. On her Instagram post (@theblindcook), she wrote, “Finding out I had a rare disease and losing my sight was scary, but it hasn’t stopped me. If anything, it’s helped me focus on finding my purpose and committing to what I love to do…dreams can still be achieved despite a disability.”

Endless Accomplishments

I am drawn to stories like Christine’s that exemplify perseverance, overcoming adversity, and hope.

As the Director of Learning Support Services, I have the privilege of working alongside educational staff in supporting students so that they can find success. As I visit each school campus, I regularly see students who, with support and accommodations, are learning and growing academically, socially, and spiritually with their peers.

May is a favorite month in the school calendar as it is the time in the Learning Support Services program when we celebrate students’ successes and plan for transition between grades.

School teams share stories of hope and encouragement, where students have worked through challenging situations, faced their fears, demonstrated resilience in the face of obstacles, and achieved more than expected on their goals.

Whether it be acting in Fractured Fairytales or the school drama, participating in Run for Water projects, making and selling items for Grade 6 Market Day, playing in the school band, singing in Joyful Sounds, modeling a handmade dress in the fashion show, performing in air band, growing as an athlete, taking the night watch on a tall ship, baking for peers, writing song lyrics, or presenting their learning, the list of students’ accomplishments is endless.

I am passionate about supporting students in inclusive education at ACS because I believe all children can find God’s purpose for their life and, like Christine Ha, pursue their dreams.