Albertville students Sophie-Elle Garrett and Brindlee Denney decided to make homecoming extraordinary for two other students.
Sophie-Elle and Brindlee are members of Aggie Pals, a mentoring group that partners students with special needs students. When they were selected to represent the ninth grade as homecoming attendants, they decided to ask two special needs students, Justin Yates and Grayson Gladden, to escort them during the homecoming ceremony Friday last Friday night.
“This was something they decided to do on their own,” Amanda Stephens, who sponsors Aggie Pals along with Kristy Kirby, said. “Justin and Grayson are really big football fans and they asked if it would be alright to ask them to be their escorts.”
Brindlee said she’d known Grayson for a long time and he always made her smile.
“He’s always such a positive person,” Brindlee said. “He always cheers me up. Aggie Pals is like a close-knit family. I can be having a horrible day and all of them can make my day go from horrible to good with one smile.”
Sophie-Elle said she just met Justin this year through Aggie Pals and wanted him to be a part of homecoming.
“I want to make the night not about me,” she said. “I wanted to make it about my escortn not me. I feel like the Lord put it on us to live to serve and not be served. When you walk into a room with them, it’s all positive. It just makes you smile.”
Both Justin and Grayson said they were excited about being escorts for the Aggies’ homecoming. They said the girls made them an offer they couldn’t refuse by giving them candy and a big poster when they were asked to be escorts.
Stephens said Aggie Pals was a new program that was started last year. She said the program had a big impact on the student body and this year there were 225 student applications to take part in the mentoring program, but only 70 places in the program were open.
“It’s really catching on,” Stephens said. “Aggie Pals, the entire club’s, purpose is to get students to interact with and support our special students. Students have to step out of their comfort zone and put themselves in to situations they wouldn’t normally find themselves. It makes a big difference.
“From what students tell me, I think it has more of an impact on the students than it does the special students. They’re always telling me how the special students make their day.”