Aptos High student with Down Syndrome helps students in need
APTOS, Calif. (KTVU) - The generosity of one Aptos High School senior, made the Winter Ball memorable for several others. "It was fun. It was epic," says Brandon Gruber.
Brandon hopes the five others who went with him, would call it "epic" too. "I want them to have the same experiences I had," says Brandon.
Up until this year, Brandon, who has Down Syndrome, thought his high school experiences were less than ideal.
So this year, he decided to make a change. He joined every club he could, participated in every spirit day, and ultimately was crowned Homecoming King.
"I did this whole school year to flip it around," he says.
But that crowning achievement was just the beginning. Brandon told his mother he'd like to make sure others could go to school dances too.
"And I want to help my friends feel included, because he finally felt included," Teresa Gruber says.
So Brandon, also an accomplished artist, began to sell paintings and note cards. He used the money, nearly $4,000, to invite other students to the next dance with him. They were students who might not otherwise have had the means to go.
"It meant a lot to me because I know I wouldn't have this experience as much," says senior, Tony Pulido.
He paid for tuxes and dresses as well as dinner and a limo.
"Everybody just thinks about themselves sometimes. And he actually thought about others," says senior Ulises Solorio.
"I think that's really nice because he wants others to be as happy as he is," says senior Jennifer Esqueda.
He doesn't want to stop there. Brandon hopes he can continue to make more memories like this one.
"I made this. So let's create more," he says.
The dance was such a success, Brandon's already making plans to do it again. He hopes to bring even more guests with him to Prom.
He continues to sell his artwork on note cards through his website www.321life.com.