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Season Of Hope: A Reunion In Litchfield

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LITCHFIELD (WCCO) – On Monday nights throughout December, WCCO is going back to visit people whose stories touched us this past year. With generous support from our friends at Slumberland and Pandora Jewelry, it’s our hope to make Christmas unforgettable for these families.

In this week’s “Season of Hope,” we go back to Litchfield High School. In April, we introduced you to two girls who invited boys from their special education program to senior prom.

Seth Becker has autism, and his best friend, Chris Fischer, has Down syndrome. The girls took the boys in a limo to a candlelit dinner at McDonald’s — their choice — and then to the dance.

With help from one of their teachers, Deb McCann, WCCO asked the girls to come home from college for a surprise that would allow kindness to come full circle. Not only would WCCO surprise the girls with a Christmas of their dreams, they also didn’t know their family was hiding in a back room.

We first surprised college freshman Miranda Springer. We asked Seth Ackman, Miranda’s former prom date, to lend us a little help. Seth handed Miranda a wrapped iPad. Instantly, Miranda burst into tears. We also gave her a gift certificate to buy books for college. And her last gift was a charm bracelet that, quite fittingly, represented courage.

WCCO also gave Kaitlyn Dahl an iPad, but it didn’t stop there. We also decided Chris Fischer and Seth Ackman deserved gifts. We gave Chris an iPad, and Seth got an electric guitar.

“No way! No way!” Ackman said.

For the grand finale, WCCO couldn’t forget about their teacher Deb McCann. She’s the one who told us about the prom and helped us coordinate the shoot. Deb brings her own iPad from home every day so the special education kids can use the learning apps.

“She gives these boys a reason to come to school,” Dahl said.

Now, it was time for her to receive. After the giving was over, there were lots more tearful hugs between the girls, their families and the boy’s mothers. While Ackman played his new guitar, Springer jumped at the chance to sing along.

Just as WCCO was packing up their crew, Springer stopped to tell us she’d learned a life lesson after asking Seth to prom; a lesson that she couldn’t learn in the classroom.

“It does pay to do something nice for everyone else, and so many blessings have come from this,” Springer said. “And I just want to really say ‘thank you’ because it does really mean a lot.”

Miranda is continuing to work in special education. Kaitlyn is working to get into her community college’s musical therapy program. And the boys are set to graduate this year. They say they don’t know yet who they’ll be taking to prom.

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