High school hosts autism awareness pep rally

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - April is Autism Awareness Month, and every year students in North Mississippi throw a huge pep rally to raise awareness.

It looks a normal school rally, but the assembly at Hernando High School on Friday isn't for school spirit, it's a much more important, unique school tradition.

"It's our 7th annual pep rally for Autism Awareness and Acceptance," English teacher Holly Neel said.

"You can see how active every student is and everyone always gets excited; they know April is Autism Awareness month," senior Rawan Amro said.

Every April, blue shows up all over the school for Autism Awareness. During the annual assembly, students meet adults on the autism spectrum.

This year, one of the speakers for the event actually went to school at Hernando.

"One thing that goes along with having Aspergers is obsessing over things. I mean it could be anything, books, movies, TV shows. Everything that I've ever obsessed over has taught me a little bit about myself," former Hernando High School student Isaac said.

Students experience what autism can be like using games like hurdling students in a cardboard box or a silent dance off to explain sensory differences.

And it's not just the school, the entire Hernando community gets involved.

"They light it up blue and their homes. The sheriff's department has an event coming up where they're going to have the blue lights on at the end of the month, and they light up the courthouse up. It's really is a full community wide event," Rebecca Treadway said.

The goal is to make a lasting impact on the students.

"I really hope they leave here knowing something different in the world, like something they can contribute to help around the world, just being a part of the solution," Senior Andres Liberato said.

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