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Olympus High Adopts Challenged Teen

Olympus High Adopts Challenged Teen

Posted - Feb. 24, 2004 at 10:25 p.m.



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Ed Yeates ReportingSomething very special happened tonight on the basketball court at Olympus High School. Sixteen-year old Craig Strasser has what is called William's Syndrome. Though he's challenged mentally, his parents say their son is gifted with a "cocktail" personality.

John Strasser, Craig's Dad: "All he sees in people is face value, and everyone is his friend. He does not have any pre-judgments or just anything, and he's just the friendliest kid at Olympus High."

Craig loves Olympus High School athletics so much, teams here have adopted him. He has a jersey and wraps his wrists and ankles just like they do. And he's at every game - all since former football coach Mike Miller brought him on board.

Sound familiar?

Craig is not unlike Cuba Gooding Jr's movie portrayal of another challenged young man nicknamed "Radio" who was adopted by a South Carolina High School.

Craig Strasser: "I just want to win this game tonight with my team because this team is for me. I think they're good people. I love it."

Craig is always there cheering the Titans on - win or lose.

Matt Barnes, Coach: "The last home game was his birthday and he had a big birthday party and the whole student body started singing Happy Birthday to him at the end of the game. It was just awesome."

Richie Stevens, Olympus Titans: "He's a good man to have around. He really lifts our spirits, keeps up positive, gives us reinforcement. He always knows who we're playing next and like we're going to kick their butts."

Though Craig goes to a special school, Olympus considers him their own. And tonight, Principal Paul Hansen made it official, giving him the athlete's prize -- a letterman jacket.

If you thought the movie "Radio" purged emotions, you should have been there tonight.

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