Students with Disabilities Walk Their Teacher Down the Aisle at Her Wedding: They're 'My Babies'
A special education teacher from Georgia invited three of her 10-year-old students to join her on her special day.
Colleen Powell, a teacher at Lakeview Academy in Milledgeville, said there was no question that she wanted three of her favorite students — Dominic May, who has Down syndrome, and Jay Hurt and Korde Solomon, who both have disabilities — to play an important part in her wedding earlier this month.
“Especially just having five or six kids, they become your own,” the 25-year-old education explained to WMAZ. “Since I don’t have any kids of my own, I call these three my babies.”
“I’d always said my boys are going to be in my wedding because they’re just the biggest piece of my heart,” she added to Today. “They mean as much to me as anyone else that was there.”
When Powell walked down the aisle, she was accompanied by her father and Jay and Korde, who served as rings bearers. Jay as cerebral palsy, and was pushed in his wheelchair by Korde.
“They’re just the biggest piece of my heart,” Powell told WMAZ. “They mean as much to me as my bridesmaids did, and as much as my husband’s groomsmen.”
Because the boys have difficulty speaking, Jay carried a device with a pre-recorded message that announced, “Here comes the bride,” when he pressed a button. When the wedding officiant asked, “Who gives away the bride?” Dominic played a message that said, “Her parents and I do.”
“They can all communicate their wants or needs or their feelings,” Powell told Today of the way she communicates with them in class.
Camellia Hurt, Jay’s mother, said she wasn’t sure if Powell was serious when she initially asked about the children participating in the ceremony.
“Originally, I thought she just kind of said it to be kind because I was in the classroom while she talked about planning the wedding,” Hurt said. “She was serious.”
“At first I was on pins and needles but thank God nothing happened,” she said. “He was really involved in the wedding and this was so beautiful.”
Shiquana Solomon, Korde’s mother, told Today that the boys had a great time celebrating their teacher’s special day with her.
“Korde danced going down the aisle, he had to bust out a little dance move. They started clapping,” she recalled. “I was happy. I was crying.”
“They will always remember that,” Dominic’s mom, Ingried Banks, told WMAZ. “And I will, I know the other parents will always love them for that.”