The students at West Iredell High School in Statesville, NC have been busy these last few months.
The school has partnered with us to create a Jr. Dream Team, a group of 9 students, who will lead an entire school, and even an entire community, to help make a dream come true for one of their fellow classmates, Tyler Bowie. Tyler is a senior at WIHS and an absolute joy to all he meets. He lives with autism; however, Tyler’s mom will tell you the condition does not define him. “He has no clue about autism, all he knows is he is happy all of the time!”
Tyler is a huge sports fan but there is a special place in his heart for NASCAR. He will tell you that Jeff Gordon is a legend and spout off stats like, “he has 93 career wins and 4 championship wins,” and that racing is “my most favorite thing I like!” Tyler’s Dream is to go to a NASCAR race and meet some of his favorite drivers.
Once the Jr. Dream Team had been selected, their first task was share the good news with the rest of the students – after all, it takes support from the entire school to reach the goals that this group of students hopes to accomplish. The school was one big buzz of excitement after the announcement and students were on their feet cheering. As the saying goes, Tyler doesn’t know a stranger; therefore, most students know him well and it was obvious that everyone was thrilled to huddle up to make his sports dream amazing!
The Jr. Dream Team has learned a lot in their first few months, non-profit education and fundraising have been a big focus as they work to raise the funds needed for Tyler’s Dream Experience. The group held a spirited volleyball tournament that put the students and teachers in a head-to-head competition as the school cheered for their favorite team. And with Tyler’s love of sports, there was no way he planned to sit on the sidelines! Tyler had a blast as the “celebrity” referee, and made sure it was a fair match. The teachers put up a good fight, however the students were the clear winners and the prize? Bragging rights and being $800 closer to achieving their goal!
The work doesn’t stop there. Students have designed their own t-shirt that will be sold and worn with pride in support of Tyler and West Iredell High School and then there is all the planning to be done to make Tyler’s dream a truly magical experience.
It’s not a common occurrence for a group of students, with no other connection, to come together to help a fellow classmate with special needs. But then, these are not common students. These students are a real family – they are accepting and appreciative of one another for their differences.