We love this heartwarming story about eighth graders at Lincoln Middle School in Kenosha, Washington.
Last year, Desiree (Dee) Andrews was having fun with her fellow cheerleaders at a school basketball game. But Desiree, who has Down syndrome, became the target of some mean comments from a few boys in the crowd.
Three players on the Lincoln basketball team, Miles Rodriguez, Scooter Terrien, and Chase Vazquez, noticed the bullying and immediately came to Desiree's defense.
"The kids in the audience were picking on Dee, so we all stepped forward," Chase told TMJ4 news. Remembering the incident, Miles shared, "[W]hen I heard they were talking about her...it kind of like made me mad. A couple of us went over there and were like, can you guys just stop, that's not right."
Needless to say, the cruel comments and bullying stopped. "[B]ullying is not the right way to go. Always stand up for your friends and protect one another," said Scooter.
And since last year, Dee has been given the honor of being introduced with the starting lineup at every game. Afterward, each team member gives her a high five or fist pump. Students often wear t-shirts to celebrate her and to promote the message of kindness at Lincoln.
The school's gymnasium was also renamed to "D's House," and the team celebrated their last game of the season this past week with a "D's House" celebration that included the chant: "Who's house? D's house!" When asked about the celebration, Dee shared, "It was sweet, kind, awesome, amazing."
Even better: Dee, who was inspired to become a cheerleader after seeing Becky on "Glee," has gained many friends/protectors and no longer walks the school hallways alone.
Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com. She loves collecting children's picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea.
Screenshot of Desiree Andrews from a video on the Kenosha News Facebook page