Being a member of Best Buddies has been one of the most satisfying decisions of senior Katelynn Hexamer’s Mt. Vernon High School years.
“To be a part of Best Buddies means being able to get the friendships with people with and without disabilities,” Hexamer said. “Being able to connect together by doing different activities and making lifelong friendships.”
Hexamer, president of Mt. Vernon’s Best Buddies chapter, is nominated for Best Buddies Indiana Champion of the Year.
“It’s meant a lot to me and I was surprised when I got the nomination,” she said.
Hexamer has worked to raise money for the campaign with seeking donations, auction items and sponsorships. The winner will be named Nov. 14 at the Champion of the Year Gala, held virtually.
Hexamer serves as Mt. Vernon junior Ella Prazeau’s after-school caregiver. Prazeau was born with Angelman syndrome, a genetic disorder which causes delayed development, problems with speech and balance.
“We like to dance and sing together and watch musical type things,” Hexamer said. “We just have that bond.”
At first, Hexamer was hesitant to join Best Buddies as a freshman because she didn’t know if it was the right fit. She soon found out it was.
Hexamer became convinced in the middle of her junior year that she wants to pursue special education major while attending Marian University.
“Katelynn has been Ella’s caregiver for 18 months, but more importantly she is Ella’s friend,” stated Alyssa Prazeau, Ella’s mother. “Katelynn takes Ella to school sporting events, dances and programs plus things outside of school. This allows Ella to be a teenager without us, her parents, always having to be there. Ella doesn’t necessarily want special treatment just because she has special needs. She just wants to be included in the group, a member of the team and accepted. Katelynn gives her those gifts every time they are together.”
To donate to Hexamer’s campaign, visit bestbuddieschampion.org/indiana/supporting/#katelynnhexamer.