This Marching Band Senior Sacrificed Her Final Year to Help a Classmate

October 17, 2017

For high schoolers, extra-curricular activities can be extremely important—especially in their senior year. During this year, students are often the leaders of their teams and are preparing for college scholarships.

At Laingsburg High School in Laingsburg, Michigan, the most popular sport is the marching band. The marching band contains 114 members—1/3 of the student body.

One of those members gave up her senior year of playing to help out another band member. 14-year-old Autumn Michaels wanted to join the marching band when she went to high school, but she couldn’t.

Autumn is blind, keeping her from marching across the field with her classmates. She lost her sight at age 4. She was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor when she was 7-months-old. Eventually, they were able to remove the tumor, but it caused her to be blind.

While Autumn gets around easily, she can’t march with the rest of the band because they rely on visual cues for timing and pace. One of her classmates gave up her senior year playing in the band to let Autumn live her dream.

Rachael Steffans is a 17-year-old senior at Laingsburg. For her first three years at the school, she was a percussionist in the marching band.

Her senior year, though, she met Autumn. Autumn began in the marching band with a school aide, but they were unable to keep in step with the rest of the marching band and she often had to find a last-minute fill-in when some weren’t able to make it. No one was able to commit to learning the technique that was needed.

When Autumn attended the band camp, though, she met Rachael. At first, the band director asked Rachael to fill in as Autumn’s guide during their practices.

That made all the difference. Rachael and Autumn hit it off. Rachael knew exactly how to respond to directions from the director and was also willing to get close enough to Autumn to properly direct her.

At the end of the band camp, the director started to look for someone else to act as Autumn’s guide. By the time school started, they hadn’t yet found anyone. That’s when Rachael decided to sacrifice her senior year to help Autumn.

According to Rachael, “I like it this way. We already had such a set way, and it’d be hard to just put somebody else in. You can’t change something that’s going so good.”

It’s so inspiring to see someone so young give up her final year to help someone else. Their relationship is so valuable.

In other news, you have to see what this mother did for her children when a car was heading for a cliff. Read the story here.

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