SUDBURY — Curtis Middle School sixth grader Anna Tabasky has been talking about her 12th birthday almost daily since she turned 11, and when the celebration finally kicked off today, it didn’t disappoint.
Though it wasn’t what anyone expected, as she and millions of others are living under unprecedented social restrictions due to COVID-19, Tabasky still had a birthday to remember thanks to a parade of cars filled with friends, classmates and teachers she calls her “fans.”
“I just wanted everyone to show her love and celebrate her and make her feel special on her birthday,” said Anna’s mom, Kerri Tabasky. “It’s so nice to have people showing up…to make her feel like she’s important and valued.”
For Kerri, it’s important that her daughter — who lives with Down Syndrome — has a chance to be included, and she coordinated with Sudbury speech pathologist Lindsey Carapezza to ensure she was.
Carapezza works with Anna almost daily at Curtis Middle School, and was well aware of how important her birthday is to her. Before school was closed due to the ongoing pandemic, there was a plan to have a special birthday lunch during school today. When that became impossible due to the closure, Carapezza welcomed the opportunity to work with Kerri to make today’s parade of vehicles past the Tabasky house a reality.
“Sudbury is a special place in the way that it comes out to support everyone in the community,” Principal Jeff Mela said. “I felt so privileged to be there and celebrate Anna’s birthday in such a unique and memorable way.”
Anna also had a chance to connect with her friends via video chat, as Sudbury Public Schools have transitioned to remote class sessions to fill the void in students’ days.
“She’s just been so excited about her birthday for months and months and months,” Carapezza said. “We care so deeply for all of our students in Sudbury and this was just one example of people coming together… Everybody heard about it and wanted to be apart of it.”
An estimated 40-50 cars, carrying friendly faces from neighboring towns like Sudbury, Natick, Concord and Carlisle, drove past the Tabasky’s home and stopped to wish Anna a happy birthday. Despite the rain and wind, the family stood outside for more than 20 minutes as cars passed by, showed homemade signs and shared well wishes.
“She’s just an amazing kid, and I’m really happy people showed up,” Kerri Tabasky said. “Hopefully she’ll remember this for a long time.”
Anna’s 12th birthday, celebrated under unprecedented circumstances and with an unfathomable turnout, may just wind up being her best ever — at least until 13 rolls around.