SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - For many teenagers in uniform on a Friday night, whether they’re cheering on the fans or fighting for yards on the football team, it’s about creating the kind of memories that last a lifetime.
“When you look back, those are supposed to be the best times of your lives,” begins Haughton High School football coach Jason Brotherton.
Calls made on the football field Friday night helped lead his extended family of 140 football players to a convincing homecoming victory.
But it’s the call he and the other coaches made before the season ever started that’s creating memories for a group of Haughton students generally not on a school’s game day schedule.
“You try to create that something for them to have that great high school experience," explains Brotherton.
What the coaches created, was the ‘hero of the week’ award that goes out to different students with special needs throughout the football season.
“They have a special place in my heart,” shares teacher Robin Iman.
“And the people here embrace them."
Inman teaches many of the students with special needs who have been honored at Friday pep rallies.
“Some of these kids would have loved to have been part of a team like that. But because of their limitations, they’re not able to,” continues Iman.
Brotherton says the reaction from students from fellow students and players has been fantastic.
“With all the bad going on in society, it shows all the good about the society we live in and high school kids,” says Brotherton.
On Homecoming Friday, Kaitlyn, Logan, Paul and Michaela were all honored as ‘heroes of the week’.
“It really boosts their self esteem and helps them stand a little taller,” says Logan’s mother, Janet Gandy.
And it was a special moment for Inman, who is the mother of 16 year old Michaela.
“Ever since she was born, the community has embraced her,” shares Iman.
“I never have to worry about my daughter or worry about my students.”
These weekly pep rally honors has meant as much to the students as it has to the coaching staff.
“All of a sudden I met these kids, they came into my life, they made a difference,” reveals a smiling Coach Kyle Washington.
“I’m such a softer soul.”