Eureka High School friendship program gives select students a memorable Friday Night Lights experience

EUREKA, Mo. – It’s the moment they’ve all been waiting to witness. Friday night football on Eureka High School’s turf, but there’s no area school opponent.

“Just the pure smiles on their faces is unlike something I’ve ever seen,” Eureka football player Shane Lockwood said.

It’s called Friday Night Lights. In this one moment, students with all type of disabilities get their chance to be in the spotlight.

“They come out and support us all the time and we don’t understand the things these kids go through on a daily basis,” Lockwood said. “Sometimes we take things in life for granted and it’s just awesome we get to give back to them.”

The Best Buddies program is one that offers friendships and leadership development for students with and without disabilities. For the past few years, the high school athletes look forward to the event every season.

“You get to see kids smiling, no matter what they are going through,” Eureka football player Tyler Kennedy said. “It’s just a full day of happiness and it warms my heart.”

This year, not all the excitement came from just the players. There was no stopping the moving to the beat when halftime rolled around.

“Seeing their happy positive attitude and they’re really excited for tonight makes me proud to be a part of this community and this program,” cheerleader Olivia Crain said.

For this one moment, it showed that no matter the disabilities you may have, we are all gifted – together.