Beyond the Books: small town, big smile as Lone Tree supports all students
Fresh off a senior night where the Lone Tree football team clinched their first-ever playoff berth in eight-man, the Lions are now focusing their sights on a district title.
Lone Tree will have to beat Midland away from home, away from the Lion faithful, their senior class of supporters, the marching band that kicks off every game with the school's song.
That band features a small, but mighty contingent of musicians.
Front and center for every home game is senior drummer Chase Dauber, a Lone Tree student with special needs best known for his smile and laugh.
"He's the happiest person I've ever met," said football captain Casey Shalla. "He's got the best smile you'll ever see. And it's the most contagious smile."
Everyday, that smile makes its way to Lone Tree's music room, where Chase rehearses with the marching band.
Skyler Pettitt is also a senior in the band, and can be seen smiling at Chase throughout practice.
The pair giggles between songs, exchanging nudges and hugs all the while.
Pettitt said Chase's disability doesn't define him, his heart does.
"You should treat everyone like they should be deserved," said Pettitt. "Chase really deserves to be loved by everybody, because he's such a lovable guy."
Pettitt and Shalla both describe the Lone Tree community as accepting of people from all backgrounds, and said Chase is known and loved by everyone in the town.