It was a heartwarming moment for two Pueblo West High School students at their last swim meet on Tuesday night.
Senior Jerrica Terwilliger surprised her friend, and special education student Kendall Majeres, with her own Letterman jacket.
"It felt totally exciting, totally proud and just really thankful for an awesome swim team and awesome coaches,” said Majeres.
It was senior night for the swimmers and instead of focusing on her own achievements, Terwilliger wanted to focus on the success of the Junior.
Jerrica planned a special presentation for Majeres at their final swim meet of the year, and Jerrica’s last.
But the weather almost kept Kendall from making it. So one of her teachers drove Kendall to the school to make sure she was recognized for all her hard work.
Jerrica helped Kendall suit up, just in time.
The room was filled with boisterous cheers as the infectious 17-year-old dove into the water.
“It was really a rewarding experience seeing her smile and light up, knowing that just because she has a disability, she still swims her heart out, she’s always at practice cheering on everybody else, giving 110%,” said Terwilliger .“We wanted her to know that she lettered, she got honored for this, and that she has all these people behind her.”
The Senior raised the money to make sure Kendall had a jacket for the letter she earned for swimming.
Their friendship and mentor-ship began last year, and they’ve only grown closer.
Jerrica has made it her mission to make sure Kendall knows that it’s okay to be different.
“I wanted her to know that she can do anything and accomplish anything and knowing that she’s different and it’s okay to be different. I wanted to show people that you don’t’ have to be the best athlete or the best student,” said Terwilliger. “All those people get honored all the time, and I wanted people to understand that if you have a disability its okay. You can still do an activity and still get honored.”
“Jerrica and I are best friends for life,” said Majeres.
“She means everything to me; she’s like my little sister; she’s my best friend,” said Terwilliger.
Now, Kendall has inspired Jerrica to be a special education teacher.
And Kendall has her own dream, of motivating others just like her.
"I really hope that the other kids with learning disabilities get the courage to try out for a school team,” said Majeres.
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