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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What happens when you give a kid a chance!




Always give a kid a chance!
Jason McElwain has been in the news for his contribution to his team's win on the basketball court in February. Jason rang six three point shots in the final home game of the season. (He would have had one more but his foot was on the line.) This would be a boone for any senior, but for Jason it was more. You see, Jason was the 5'6" autistic team manager of the team and usually sat on the sidelines in his black tie and white shirt.

His coach was Jim Johnson.

"Coach Jim Johnson was impressed with his dedication, and thought about suiting up McElwain for the home finale."
"It was as touching as any moment I have ever had in sports," Johnson told the Daily Messenger of Canandaigua.

His Mom said ,

"This was his Berlin Wall tumbling to the ground," Debbie McElwain, Jason's mom says. "For the first time in his life he got an opportunity to be in the spotlight, and it couldn't have been brighter."

(See the video )


The story didn't end there. Jason met President Bush today. The Associated Press article says,

"McElwain, who because of his autism, didn't begin talking until he was five and still lacks some social skills. Despite suffering from the little understood developmental disorder, he has served as all-around motivator for the Greece Athena High School basketball team, in Greece, N.Y., a Rochester suburb."
How does this apply to education?
Jason is being hailed as a hero.

My hero is Coach Jim Johnson.

Jason had a spark inside himself, a love of the game, and a willingness to serve and do for others. Johnson had the unselfish humility that put a child ahead of his own ego.
I don't know much about Coach Johnson, but I know that I admire him. Any man who would put a kid in the spotlight though he did not know what would happen, deserves my admiration. Any man who would encourage a kid like that needs to be emulated. I am excited for Jason. I want to know more about Coach Johnson!

As I read the articles throughout the Internet, I am almost in tears. This moment has everything good in teaching wrapped up into a moment caught on tape. This is why I do what I do! For those moments!

Jason and his parents have twenty five movie offers. I think we'll be hearing more about him.
The defining moments in the classroom don't get replayed on the news and don't get meetings with the President, but they are just as profound and just as important. Work and persist for those moments. The harder you fight to get to that moment, the more the moment means when it arrives. Remember Jason!
You never know what will happen when you give a kid a chance!
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