This is just a wonderful story.
Preston Lillis is a fifth-grader at Grandville South Elementary School in Michigan. Three years ago, he was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. Because of his difficulty with physical activities and how his condition reacts to such things, he had tended to avoid athletic events, including the school marathon on Field Day, which he skipped last year because it was just too overwhelming for him and he got a migraine.
This year, though, his fellow classmates had an idea of what they wanted to do for him.
But this year, the other fifth-grade students thought of a plan to make the event a great one for Preston. The kids who would be running in the boys' marathon went to their teach with the idea to let Preston take lead in the race (all the while praising him from behind) -- all the while as the girls in the class urged him on from the finish line.
"The girls were all cheering, 'Preston, Preston,'" his father told a local TV station. "Chills were going up and down my spine, and needless to say, my eyes weren't that dry."
His mother Jill added that, "He was pretty excited, The second he got to school he was still talking about it."
My favorite comment comes for the class's teacher, John Barton, who said, "They're a pretty compassionate group and they're constantly looking after him." Well, that's about as prime an example as you'll find. They're a pretty compassionate group" -- gee, no kidding.
And here is the end of the race, taken by his father. Preston's excitement is palpable when he crosses the finish line, as is that of his classmates.
I thought about referring to them as 10-year-olds, but figured that "fifth grade class" was much better. After all, the definition of "class" doesn't get more perfect.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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