10th Grader at Central DeWitt High School
Guardian: Grandmother, MaryAnn Cowan
Lane Walker was nominated for the Student of the Month award by Mrs. Jackson, Special Education Teacher at Central DeWitt Intermediate School. According to Mrs. Jackson, Lane has been a Unified Sports Team Member and “Best Buddy” for over 2 years with our Special Olympics team. He has volunteered to assist athletes in bowling, basketball, track and cycling, and attends practices with the athletes to assist them. He has attended State events with the athletes and has coached our 3:3 basketball team. He has even pitched in during cheer practice when we were short buddies. He is able to rephrase directions so all of the athletes understand what he is asking of them, and he is the first to help when an athlete may need something. He encourages and cheers all of the athletes during practices and competitions.
Mrs. Jackson also shares that Lane encourages other students to practice inclusion through our “Spread the Word to End the Word” pledge drive. He has recruited many other buddies to participate in the program and has taken time out of his own sports practices, events and even work to devote time to the Special Olympics team. He includes the athletes when he sees them in other areas by making them feel like part of the group. “Lane is an excellent example of what a Best Buddy should look like!”
While asking Lane about his efforts, he says he was inspired to get involved when he was in 7th or 8th grade. He remembers noticing an athlete that he felt needed some extra encouragement during one of the running events in gym class, so he began cheering her on. Teachers took notice of his kind actions and asked if he’d be willing to support the student during an upcoming track meet which Lane was excited about. He was asked to attend other events and soon after, the “Best Buddies” program was created. Lane is currently paired with a student in the program who he mentors and assists with activities. “It’s awesome!”, Lane says, “We do a lot of fun activities with them.” He has encouraged his friends and other classmates to get involved as well and feels they are making a difference. Lane reminds others, “They aren’t as different as you think”, and one small act of kindness can turn into something really BIG.