Teen With Asperger's Graduates As Valedictorian

Chance Mair started his schooling in a special-education classroom and ended high school with a Valedictorian address. Mair was diagnosed with Asperger's at an early age, but he learned to overcome the symptoms of the syndrome. He found his niche in a sport and at an arts and technology high school.

Mair had never told most of his classmates that he had Asperger's but wanted to address it in his speech.

"It’s one of those things that for the longest time I didn’t want to tell people,” Mair said. “But now that I’m graduating, I don’t want to hold it back. I want people to know me for who I really am.”

Being very shy growing up, Mair's parents knew that he could only find success by building his up his social skills. Mair found that bowling built up his confidence and he began to play on many different teams.

“Diversity is one of the reasons I like it. There’s no one kind of person, there’s no one way you can bowl,” Mair said. “There are so many possibilities, I guess.”

Mair's parents have also seen a change since he started bowling.

“You put him in a bowling alley, it’s his environment, it’s his home,” Mair’s father, Derek Mair, said. “Doesn’t matter what bowling alley. He loves it.”

Mair began school at Marysville Arts and Technology where class size was smaller and he could feel more comfortable. He thrived at the school and was able to graduate as valedictorian.

“I’m really happy that I’ve achieved so much and that I’ve gotten to this point in life, but I’m also really sad that all the time has gone by and now I have to say goodbye to all my friends,” Mair said.

Mair will be attending Washington State University where he is on a full scholarship. He plans to major in mathematics and join an intramural bowling league.

H/T The Seattle Times

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