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High school band director fulfills marching band dream of student with disability, wins hearts

He wants other teachers to take some inspiration and try to do their part in helping students beyond any limits.

High school band director fulfills marching band dream of student with disability, wins hearts
Image Source: KOCO 5 News/Youtube

A little kindness and compassion towards accommodating people with disabilities can help them build their confidence. They are often left out from exploring opportunities and making their dreams come true because of societal prejudices related to disabilities. However, this high school band director did everything he can to make a student's dream come true. 

Casey Hubbard, a trumpet player, intended to join one of his high school bands, notably the Southmoore High School marching band, in the footsteps of his percussionist brother. The 16-year-old told Good Morning America, "I didn't expect to be able to march so I guess that … was my dream, to be able to get on the field and march with the rest of the band." However, Adam Mewhorter, the director of bands at Southmoore in Moore, Oklahoma, knew that he had incredible potential as Casey has been playing trumpet since seventh grade. It came with a challenge as Casey has been born with spina bifida "a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord don't form properly."



 

Mewhorter said, "I remember seeing years ago there was a video of a dad who had pushed his son around the field and that stuck with me for many years. I've seen students in wheelchairs in band programs many times but they're usually just at the … front of the band."

"A lot of times they'll just play their instruments set by them and I remember thinking, ‘I feel like we could probably do a little more.' " Mewhorter got to work instead of diverting Casey away from marching band. The boy thought that he won't get this opportunity because of his wheelchair. He said, "I thought I was going to be on the sidelines and stuff." However, Mewhorter had other plans and he asked Casey, "What do you want to do for high school?" he replied, "Well, I want to be on the field with everybody else and I want to be able to march." 



 

 

The band director made it happen that the whole band started adjusting to a new version of the band to accommodate Casey in 2019 and early 2020. Mewhorter also agreed to push Casey in his wheelchair around the football field. He was Casey's teacher and believed he was the greatest at the routines and could react swiftly. Mewhorter said, "Every year, I've kind of stepped up. There have been times in the last two years shows where there wasn't a place to go in the field and [we’d] have to hang on the sidelines for something to happen, then I could get back out there. This year's goal was to never leave the field and so we did not."



 

 

Mewhorter went on to say that he and Casey perfect marches by trial and error after seeing computer program charts of the students' motions. Casey is "really excited" about forthcoming concerts and marching band contests. He said, "I'm sure it's gonna be a lot of fun." 

More significantly, Mewhorter wishes to inspire other teachers to think creatively and to push past boundaries. He said, "I think this has gotten a little attention which is cool, a little embarrassed by it, but [if] other educators go wait a minute, ‘It'd be awesome for that to just be more often,’ I think that would be a neat side product of this."

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