Lower Campus Chapel welcomed the national speaker and leader, Kyle Pease, founder of the Kyle Pease Foundation, a nonprofit that helps disabled athletes participate and succeed in sports. Kyle shared his triumphant story, including getting diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 6 months old, playing sports with his brothers while growing up, graduating from Kennesaw State University with a degree in Sports Management in 2008, founding the non-profit in 2011, and completing five Ironman triathlons with his brother Brent while reminding students that they can do anything they set their mind to.

The Smith family whose two boys Henry, Class of 2031 and Sadler, Class of 2033 attend Mount Vernon and have a connection to the Pease family. The Smith’s partnered with MV to bring Kyle to Lower Campus. Henry and Sadler shared their personal friendship and partnership with The Kyle Pease Foundation. Watch Sadler’s introduction below.

During Kyle’s visit, he sang with our students, prayed with our students, and then shared his own personal testimony. Throughout Kyle’s life, he has struggled with cerebral palsy but strives to overcome his disability and enjoy athletics. His hope is to encourage others to work for their dreams, no matter what. At the end of Kyle’s visit, he reminded everyone that “yes you can” do anything you put your mind to and to “go out there and show the world what you can do.”

Henry explained that he has heard many stories and speeches from Kyle and hears different takeaways every time, but this time he identified with how Kyle’s brother, Brent, helped him throughout their childhoods. Henry said, “My brother is two years younger than me and Kyle made me think about how I need to include my brother in whatever I can.”

One of Lower Campus’ Upstander Values is Grit, the courage to resolve and strength of character. Kyle embodies this Upstander Value perfectly, giving Lower Campus students someone to admire and model.

Lower Campus Head of Community & Culture, Elisse Hayes supplemented Kyle’s message by saying, “His speech was a message of inclusivity, humility, and Impact. We need to include our friends in all different situations, including being nice when our friends can’t throw a ball as well as we can or if they can’t run as fast as others. It goes a long way when we are kind and inclusive to our friends.”

Students were invited to reflect on their experience and share what they took away from meeting Kyle. Some examples can be seen below.

Kindergartener, Amaris S., felt for Kyle but also understood that he was strong, saying, “I thought the chapel was good. But, when I was running around in the courtyard after, I was thinking that it wasn’t fair he was in a wheelchair but it was cool that he was still able to do what he wanted to do.”

Grade 4 students, Saaba G shared how Kyle’s story may help her and her family get through a tough time, saying “My uncle died a few months ago so it’s been really hard for my family. I just need to remember Kyle’s message of grit and perseverance, it might help us get through it.”

Learn more about Kyle’s story or support the cause by purchasing merchandise.