Special education students were already anxiously waiting in the Waxahachie High School Life Skills classroom as Linda Edmiston, Waxahachie ISD's Special Education director, and her staff began unpacking brand new green Waxahachie High School letterman jackets.
Excited parents and Life Skills staff members greeted the students Thursday morning and lined the back wall of the room as Edmiston and WHS principal Al Benskin acknowledged parents and family in attendance. This is the first time letterman jackets have been offered to special education students in WISD.
Benskin announced each student athlete, and had each one come to the front of the class to receive and put on his or her jacket. Benskin gave high-fives to the students as they took their jackets, and proudly showed them off to classmates and family.
"I'm proud of every kid that's at Waxahachie High School, but no matter how bad of a day you're having, these kids are going to make you feel better,” Benskin said. “They're genuine, they're real, and they will lift you up."
Nick Box with Edward Jones, a financial advising company, worked together to finance the effort to make these jackets available to WHS special needs students who participated in the Special Olympics program.
Last year, Box was speaking at a Special Olympics event when he and his wife realized some feelings were hurt.
“Afterward, my wife and were talking, we were sitting on the couch,” Box said in a previous Waxahachie Daily Light article. “And she looks over at me and we were talking about why no special needs children had the opportunity to earn varsity jackets. So, we thought it would be a neat idea to figure out a way to get varsity jackets to these students.”
"This is a day to honor the success and efforts that these students have put into receiving their letter jackets." said Edmiston. They've worked just as hard as others at WHS in sports, band and choir, and to see the smiles on their faces as they're acknowledged for their success is really great. Sometimes their steps are a lot more difficult than other students, but the effort is still the same."
After the student athletes were presented with their brand new green jackets, they all gathered at the front of the class as proud parents and teachers took photos of the students, each proudly displaying a large Waxahachie 'W' on the front.
"Just as our other student athletes work on the football field, basketball court and track, these kids have put in hard work as well, and it's a great opportunity for us to recognize that," said Benskin.