Groundbreaking Actress Speaks at WVNCC Disabilities Month Event


Community members and students of West Virginia Northern Community College spent Monday night listening to actress, comedienne and motivational speaker Geri Jewell. Jewell talked to the audience at the B&O Building at the Downtown Wheeling campus.

Jewell has held numerous roles in her professional career, including one of her most known, “Cousin Geri” on the ground-breaking sitcom “The Facts of Life.” In that role, Jewell became the first person with a visible disability to become a regular performer on a national, prime-time show.

She has also personally selected to be part of the Emmy-winning HBO series “Deadwood,” where she became qualified to be nominated for an individual Emmy for her portrayal of “jewell.” She is also a recurring character on “The Young and the Restless” and appeared in episode of “glee” last season.

Jewell has cerebral palsy and broke barriers in the entertainment industry by addressing issues of disability awareness.

“Hopefully people leave with the message that they can overcome the challenges they are met with in life, because we all have challenges. And it’s a matter of are you going to meet the challenge? Are you going to conquer it? Or are you going to be defeated by it? And I hope that I give the message not to give up,” Jewell said of her speech Monday night.

Kevin Serig, an accessibility counselor at WVNCC said he hoped everyone in the audience walked away Monday night taking the tenacity and willpower of Jewell.

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