Changemaker: Pierce County student leads school to embrace acceptance

PIERCE COUNTY -- For so many of us, a little encouragement while learning goes a long way. Peninsula High School senior Graham Schmidt believes he has found his calling by providing it for students with intellectual disabilities.

"We're going to change the world one person at a time," said special education teacher Wendy Christiansen. "And he's that one person. He's going to make a difference."

Schmidt dedicates one class period to sharing life's lessons with 16-year-old Joey Kimball and 18-year-old Patrick Holmes.

"It gets me through the day," Schmidt said. "It's what I look forward to when I get up, and when I go to bed the next day. I love it."

A love of inclusion that he wanted to share with the entire school, asking his new friend Carly Boyle to be his escort at the Mr. Peninsula Pageant. By setting out to offer encouragement for some classmates, he ended up helping his school embrace acceptance.

Q13 News is honoring Graham Schmidt as a true Changemaker in our community.  Next year he's going off to college, where he plans to become a special education teacher.

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