CONROE, Texas — "Let's go, Andrew. Let's go!"
Those were the encouraging words from Conroe ISD elementary students as their friend, 7-year-old Andrew May, made several attempts to score a bucket on the Buckalew Elementary School playground. The video was taken by teacher’s aide Margarita Steinberg but the kids had no idea.
In the 53-second video, students are seen passing a basketball six times before the first grader made the shot. When he did, nearly a dozen students erupted in cheers like they'd just won the NBA Championship. May ran around the blacktop, cheering and pumping his arms in the air.
“Your heart smiles,” said Buckalew Elementary School Principal Jill Price of the video shared by the school district on social media earlier this month. “In this pandemic, there are so many worries in the world. It’s just a moment that everybody deserves.”
May’s parents, Katie and Kevin May, couldn’t agree more.
“We all need a cheering squad like that,” Andrew's mother said. “That is what just touched us so much, was to see those boys in action when they didn’t even know they were being filmed.”
The Mays want to hug and thank the parents of the boys who passed the basketball to their son. The video, the family believes, highlights what can help if more of us saw opportunities to be more inclusive.
“Awesome. Kind. Peaceful. Wouldn’t we all sleep better?" Katie said.
“It’s a good reminder of what good vibes can do,” Kevin said as Andrew looked on with a big smile. “It’s just a good reminder. When you put out positive energy it just comes back to you.”
Their young son, who has a twin sister is described as “a ball of sunshine,” who doesn’t know a stranger.
Whether among his three siblings, or on the Colorado slopes with his family or at school, May finds friends.
The 7-year old lives with Down Syndrome. Part of his day at school is spent getting his needs met through specialized learning and therapies, the other half of the day is spent among the general student population and all of his friends. It’s that environment of inclusivity that the May’s think contributes to their son’s classmates seeing and accepting their child so easily.
“It is an environment of inclusion and kindness and love and respect,” said Katie May. “And it’s modeled from the top down,” and practiced on the playground.