Football Program Honors Biggest Fans

Transition students receive special award for dedicated service


Jacaob McCready

Oak student Anthony Johnson receives a plaque from Coach Jason Glenn commemorating his years of service for the football team.

When people think of Oak football, they generally think of players like the dynamic duo of Keon Jones and Dominic Morris, who command the secondary, and Montrell Bolton and his monstrous first year campaign at the helm.

But, what goes on behind the scenes to ensure the team’s success commonly goes overlooked and unnoticed. Until now.

For five years, Klein Oak students Rick Velez, Anthony Johnson, and Robert Todd have all assisted former head coach David Smith and current head coach Jason Glenn in hanging up jerseys before each practice and game.

Each student is a part of the Transition Program that assists young adults who live daily with variations of autism and other inhibiting disabilities. The program includes people that are between 18-22 years old and helps ease the transition from post-graduation to early adult life.

“The program opens up everyone’s eyes and show’s off their capabilities,” Travis Myer, a teacher in the Transition Program said. “They can do anything. They don’t let the circumstances they were born with affect their productivity. They don’t let their limits inhibit them from doing what they want to do.”

Recently Coach Glenn invited the trio into the locker room for a surprise that not even Myer expected. All three young men received commemorative plaques with their names printed across the front in honor of their service for the past few years.

“The message I hope this sends to my players is wanting to serve others instead of wanting to be served,” Glenn said. “I hope that they never take anything for granted, be appreciative of whatever someone else can do for them. These kids are doing this out of the kindness of their own hearts.”

The plaque ceremony was during 5th period, which is the same time that the program has lunch.

“They were overwhelmed at first. They’re real sticklers on time, and it wasn’t their time to be in the locker room,” Myer said.

You go into teaching trying to make an impact and change the world, but you don’t realize how much your students really impact you.

— Travis Myer

However, Myer said the young men receiving recognition were excited and honored when presented with their awards: Johnson had a smile that extended from ear to ear and Todd kept saying that he’s never received any recognition like that before.

“We wanted to give you these plaques in honor of you guys,” Glenn said during the ceremony. “We love you guys and we wanted to thank you for all that you have done this year. You guys are a very important part of this program.”

Myer also said that even though each young man lives with autism, they are very meticulous and particular in how they arrange everything. They also love Klein Oak Football, and can name every player, give every score and details from each game.

“They will not make a mistake; they’ll get anything done on time,” Myer said. “They never ask for help unless it’s absolutely necessary and they self-advocate for themselves.”

According to Myer, each student is exceptional in his own way. Johnson has Cerebral Palsy and is visually impaired, but he is described as an artist. He draws anything and everything on the board during class. Even though he faces physical limitations, personality carries a strength of its own and he is fiercely independent and cracks jokes. Myer also adds that Velez has autism, but he knows the Dewey Decimal system. He also is very consistent and reliable and is always on time and ready to work.

“You go into teaching trying to make an impact and change the world,” Myer said. “But you don’t realize how much your students really impact you.”