When one boy felt nervous about a school event, his classmates made sure he would have the time of his life.
Preston Lillis, a fifth-grader at Grandville South Elementary School in Michigan, was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome a few years ago when he was in second grade, according to Today.com. The 10-year-old has some trouble with physical activities and his school's annual field day made him anxious.
Preston, about to cross the finish line.
But this year, the other fifth-grade students thought of a plan to make the event a great one for Preston. At field day late last month, the kids let the 10-year-old win the marathon race and take home his first blue ribbon, MLive.com reported.
"The girls were all cheering, 'Preston, Preston,'" Tim Lillis, Preston's father, told WZZM13 of the race. "Chills were going up and down my spine, and needless to say, my eyes weren't that dry."
Preston with his blue ribbon.
Field day had been overwhelming for the 10-year-old in the past: it made him nervous and he often lost at the day's activities. Last year, he was so stressed over the tradition that he got a migraine and ended up not attending, MLive.com reported. So the boys in his class who would be participating in the marathon race with him approached their teacher, John Barton, with the idea that they hoped would change Preston's impression of the day.
During the marathon race, the boys let Preston take the lead and praised the student as they trailed behind him, Today.com reported. The girls in his class encouraged him from the finish line. When the 10-year-old finally crossed, he threw his hands in the air and his classmates rushed to surround him.
Barton says that this group has always seemed to have Preston's back.
"They're a pretty compassionate group and they're constantly looking after him," he told Today.com.
As for Preston, now field day doesn't seem so scary after all.
"He was pretty excited," Jill Lillis told MLive.com. "The second he got to school (on Monday) he was still talking about it."
Watch Preston's race in the video below.