The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Jacob Sidman
Jacob Sidman, graphic communication major, is described by a professor as having a probing mind and curious nature. Photo by Sara Nevis | Staff Photographer | [email protected]

by Destinee Lang | Guest writer

According to the Center for Neurological Neurodevelopmental Health, cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in childhood. However, having the condition doesn’t stop City College student Jacob Sidman from getting his education and following his dreams.

Sidman was born prematurely with a form of cerebral palsy called periventricular leukomalacia, known as PVL. The condition affected his legs and arms, preventing him from walking or writing. He uses a wheelchair to get around campus.

“There’s always something enjoyable enough to keep me constantly motivated,” says Sidman, with his usual optimism.

Right by Sidman’s side, with a genuine smile and a helping hand, is his mother, Angela Sidman. “Ever since he started preschool, he always wanted to be like every other kid,” says Angela. “He never wanted to be treated differently. He always worked so much harder to maintain that level. And I think that’s what motivates him to be just like everyone else.”

Thriving with creativity and perseverance, 20-year-old Jacob enjoys the artistic side of life. He is a graphic design major, and his hobbies include design and composing music.

“I’ve always been into the creative side of things,” Jacob says. “I like to be able to create and experiment,” Jacob says.

With Jacob’s kind heart and optimism, he has managed to not only motivate himself but those around him, as well. Longtime City College music professor Robert Knable is deeply inspired by Jacob’s perseverance to achieve.

“His probing mind and curiosity have helped me to be a better teacher,” Knable says. “He is the best proofreader ever. He reads everything with a hypercritical mind.”

Knable has Jacob as a student in one of his music classes. He has been able to watch Jacob flourish as the young man embraces his impeccable talents.

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“He has a passion for and curiosity about music,” says Knable. “He is an excellent student, very smart, very creative and very funny.”

Angela joyfully goes with Jacob to and from each class, making sure he gets to his destination safely and hassle free. She recounts the obstacles that Jacob faces on campus:  closed doors he can’t open and backpacks filled with water and supplies he can’t access.

She admits that when she first came to the realization about Jacob’s disability, she was worried about the quality of life he would have.

“It will always be in the back of our minds,” Angela says of her and her husband. “Jacob is an only child, so we don’t have the support of siblings to think about what happens when we’re gone.”

However, Jacob says that being born this way has made it easier to cope with life.

The bond between Jacob and his mother is sincere and heartfelt.

“She’s a great mom,” Jacob says. “She has to do much more than a typical mom because of my disability. My parents have to do double the work of typical parents.”

Jacob’s mother says she receives a lot from her son and his personable demeanor.

“He is a bright, engaging person who has a great sense of humor,” Angela says. “I can be in a bad mood, and he just fixes it. He always knows the perfect thing to say. He taught my husband and I what is important in life, and so much that isn’t. He has made us better people.”

As he continues his quest, Jacob and his mom agree that education can be challenging but rewarding.

“Always find something you enjoy,” Jacob says. “Just realize that there are certain parts that are enjoyable and fun. Certainly not all of it is like that, but there is always something to look forward to.”

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