Scotty Briggs is having a senior year at Roosevelt High School in Sioux Falls to remember for a lifetime. He's a four year manager and honorary member of the football team. Back in September he was named Homecoming King. He won that crown in a landslide not because he has Down Syndrome. He won it simply because he's Scotty.

Scotty's smile is infectious. He has a love of life, a love of family (including his new step-dad, step brother and step sisters) his sisters and his new nephew.Just by being himself, he has broken down any walls, real or imagined, on how students learn that he's just like them.

On April 5th, Scotty will be in Pierre where he will receive the SuAnne Big Crow Award from the South Dakota Department of Education. It's a Human and Civil Rights Award named in honor of Big Crow who was an American Indian student from Pine Ridge, South Dakota. She was an outstanding athlete, student leader, and role model, who spent her school years working to give her peers on the reservation a greater sense of self-worth and dignity. Big Crow died in an automobile accident at the age of 17.

In order to be nominated, Scotty had to meet one or more of the following criteria:

--Promote, through leadership in specific activities and actions, an appreciation of diversity and the elimination of bigotry and prejudice.
--Demonstrate leadership in improving the conditions and self-esteem of minorities or the disadvantaged.
--Secure community recognition for his or her contribution toward the elimination of social injustice.

Again, Scotty does all that simply by being himself and leading by example. I'm honored to know Scotty and his family and congratulate him on a well-deserved honor. Way to go buddy!

Photo Courtesy of Jessica Kerher