Middle school student volunteers with special needs students

MERIDIANVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Madison Shelby is an 8th grader that stays busy. The Meridianville Middle School student rides horses, plays in band, dances, and maintains A's in all of her classes. Her academics and activities are enough to make her a WAFF Star Student, but her principles and teachers say it's her heart.

"To have a student approach me about helping out with special needs kids that's very unusual in itself," said assistant principal Lori Shotts.

Madison is an aid to a special needs class. She said after seeing groups of special needs kids around school, she began to form a relationship with them. It didn't take long before she was volunteering in their classes and doing something a lot of kids her age would be afraid to do.

"Some people it is unknown to them and it's kind of scary I guess," said Madison.

Working with special needs students came natural to the 8th grader and more importantly it showed her classmates that it was okay to interact with kids who are a little different than themselves.

"When she asked them to come sit by her when they're waiting on their car in the afternoon or at the lunchroom or P. E. Or where ever the kids may be, that makes the other students not think anything about it," said Shotts.

Madison said her friends are now comfortable with the special needs students.

"I would say get to know them you would be surprised at how much fun you have and it's a learning experience for you and them," she said.

If you'd like to nominate someone, submit the student's name, current school, grade, your contact information and a detailed message on what makes the student special at starstudent@waff.com.

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