A high school senior in Wisconsin creates "one of the nicest memories of our lives" for an autistic teenage boy and his family.


When high school senior Maddi Colbeth approached the band director at Clear Lake High School, Mike Larson, she posed a question that completely took him aback. In an interview with the Journal Sentinel, Larson tells reporters, "It was a pretty breathtaking moment for me."
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Maddi had gotten to know Jon — a junior at Clear Lake High School and Larson's son —through a school club that fosters friendships between students with disabilities and students without disabilities. Jon is autistic, and Maddi had taken to eating lunch with him to keep him company. She says, "he likes someone who will sit and talk to him and have the patience. He's a calm guy and he's nice. He's funny."

Maddi decided Jon should have a full high school experience, so she resolved to ask him to be her prom date (the Journal Sentinel reports that she had a boyfriend, so they would be attending the dance as friends). But, before asking Jon, Maddi sought permission from his parents. Despite his initial surprise, Larson recalls telling Maddi, "we would be honored to have you take Jon."

In the days leading up to the 2013 prom, Maddi made all the necessary arrangements, such as coordinating their outfits in Jon's favorite color, finding a restaurant that served his favorite foods, and making sure he actually wanted to attend the dance.

After the prom was over, Larson posted a photo of the pair on Facebook (republished below), along with the accompanying text giving context about why this photo held such a special place in his heart.

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Larson tells the Journal Sentinel that watching his son at prom was a dream come true: "It's something I never thought would happen for our family, and not only did it happen, but it's happened in such a beautiful way. ... It will be one of the nicest memories of our lives."