Originally published in KCBD on April 14, 2023
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - 7th graders from a Texas online preparatory school or TOPS spent the last month learning about disability awareness. Friday, they got to meet up at Howdy’s Homemade Ice Cream to meet the ‘howdy heroes’ and each other for the first time.
More than 20% of TOPS students have some kind of disability. Their teacher, Morgan Waters said this was the perfect place to meet each other.
“Prior to COVID we would have several meet ups throughout the year, but COVID kind of ruined that, so we are having our first meet up of the year. It is very important that they see disabilities out in the real world, so that’s why we met up today at the ice cream shop that employs people with disabilities.” Waters said.
Howdy’s mission is to provide job security for individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities through smiles and ice cream.
Karlie Watts has been a hero for Howdy’s since they opened.
“I get to see good people every day and it’s a job I look forward to every day. I just love to talk to people and communicate with people and see some of my friends,” Watts said.
Waters said not only do the students get to meet their classmates, it also teaches them an important lesson.
“It shows them that they don’t have to be ashamed. That it won’t stop them from working, from being who they want to be and who they are that they can achieve anything,” Waters said.
The students said they were excited to meet, and they also enjoyed the perks of ice cream.
“i wanted to meet my classmates and it also said ice cream so that very intrigued me as well,” 7th grader Peyton said.
To learn more about Texas Online Preparatory School, visit https://tops.k12.com/