John Hardin football player, classmate left with lifetime homecoming memory

John Hardin High School’s football homecoming king and queen, Matthew Riddle and Monica Saprissa.

No matter what John Hardin High School senior Yukiah Reyes does the rest of the football season, it’s hard to imagine it could be any more impactful than what he did Sept. 27 on the field.

At halftime of the school’s homecoming game, Reyes, one of the candi­dates to be crowned John Hardin’s homecoming king, was recognized for being selected by the student body to wear the crown.

Without hesitation, Reyes relinquished his title and gave it to fellow homecoming court nominee and senior Matthew Riddle, who happens to have Down Syndrome.

Photographs from the event show a smiling Riddle proudly accepting the honor, hugging and high-fiving those around him. His excitement was immeasurable.

Reyes and Riddle, called a “popular” student at the school by John Hardin Principal Mark Wells, will have other big moments in their lives. On this night, they shared one.

There is a lesson to be learned.

It was an extremely kind gesture, for certain, and often we don’t think teenagers look out for anyone besides themselves. Reyes’ act was a shining example of going above and beyond to brighten somebody else’s day. In Riddle’s case, it brightened his life and his enthusiastic reaction brightened the day for everyone at the game.

Riddle’s mother Christi Scovel called Reyes’ gesture, “something none of us will ever forget.”

Riddle’s senior year has been made – Reyes’ as well.

Reyes took the sign motto around Hardin County of “Just Be Kind’” to an entirely different level for his efforts — he actually lived it.

This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.

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