52 / 34
      37 / 27
      39 / 28

      High school student overcomes obstacles despite special needs

      A Gladwin teen is not letting anything get in his way of making the most of his high school experience. 16-year-old Kirk DeMoines has Down syndrome and thanks to support from the community, he's having the time of his life.

      â??My favorite sports team is football,â?? said Kirk DeMoines, a Gladwin High School Sophomore.

      The football field is probably where you would find Kirk on Friday nights this fall and he's been a busy guy. The high school sophomore was on Gladwin's homecoming court and could be seen on the football field directing his marching band as drum major.

      Kirk's parents decided to put him in public school at an early age, and after looking at their options, they figured mainstreaming their son was the best choice.

      â??The support of the community, the schools, his family, grandparents has really made all this possible,â?? said Kirk's Father Trevor DeMoines. â??Kirk tries real hard at everything that he does and if he doesn't succeed we only encourage him to try harder, and that's exactly what he does.â??

      Kirk's classmates like to have a good time with him, even dancing in the school store. He works in the store and has mastered the Slurpee machine.

      â??They don't look at Kirk as only having Down syndrome. They look at him as he's just another friend to themâ?|â??

      School administrators are proud of Kirk's achievements at Gladwin High School.

      â??He blossomed. I think he knows everybody in the building. He doesn't hesitate to say good morning... how are you doing? He's just very social,â?? said Linda Stodolak, Gladwin High School Assistant Principal. â??Kirk is the kind of guy that if you're having a bad day you want to go talk to him because you're not going to have a bad day for much longer.â??

      Even though Kirk still has some time left in high school, he's already looking towards the future. He wants to become a singer in Las Vegas.