While Gallatin High is a brand new school in town, junior Gabe Ryles has quickly made an impact playing for the Raptors and helping Special Ed students in P.E. class.
“It’s really fun they’re energetic... fun to be around. They score a point in badminton they’ll be pumped up giving me high fives," Ryles said.
The left tackle has dedicated around 40 hours assisting two students on Monday and Tuesday every week.
“I basically just help them get ready, change into their gym clothes and I help them during gym class if they don’t understand something or I help them have fun.”
Freshman and Special Olympic basketball player, Jack Clark, is one of the students Gabe works with, and Clark says in addition to having fun he's making friendships.
“Gabe is the best Gabe in the whole world. He’s my favorite guy, he’s my friend and we are a team me Gabe and Peyton we have fun do what teenage boy does and we can learn the game out there," Clark said.
P.E. teacher and Raptors men's basketball coach, Mike Claxton, says Ryles' assistance makes his job easier.
“He even engages with them sometimes in game play, he’s encouraging. He understands tries to relate to them and guide them in the right direction."
Ryles credits learning how to coach the students to his football coaches.
“They talk about having good character helping others and being selfless.”
During football season the team has something called 'Character Wednesdays', where one day out of the week either a coach or a motivational speaker comes to practice to discuss the meaning behind character.
Head Coach Hunter Chandler says through this he hopes to motivate the team to be good people whether it’s on the field or in the classroom.
“Having really good character and being nice you can change a person’s day and I think Gabe really embodies that. It’s not a show it’s who he is," Chandler said.
Whether it's Character Wednesdays or students like Jack, Ryles says both have taught him the importance of helping others.
“It helps me recognize the man I want to be when I’m finished with high school into adulthood it helps me with things I’m going to take on in the future."