Hayden's eyes well with tears when she thinks about her brother on the softball diamond, playing alongside her.
“He is different from other people,” Hayden said. “It's just really cool to see my brother play different games that normally he wouldn't be able to.”
Griggs-Harjo has brought in players from Seminole County, Maud, Shawnee and Holdenville. They all want that chance for togetherness in Seminole County.
“I feel like as I'm building my child here, I'm building Seminole for my child,” she said. “That's what I want.”
Adapting to change
The special education program in Seminole County is in a co-op with all 10 school districts in the area.
Taylor went to preschool and kindergarten 20 miles from home at Konawa Elementary in Konawa Public Schools. He's spent the last five school years at Northwood Elementary, which is part of Seminole Public Schools.
Per tradition, a stop at Bowlegs is next. But Taylor's made his home in Seminole Public Schools. When he walks onto the playground, the other kids don't stare at him; they line up for high fives and fist bumps.
“I'm not thinking of just Taylor in this. I want the other kids to be around Taylor,” Griggs-Harjo said. “It changes them when they go to school with a child like him, all the way through. He's a part of them, and they're a part of him.”
That's why Taylor won't be in Bowlegs this fall. He'll be back at Northwood. Griggs-Harjo said she has set up an Individual Education Plan with Taylor's teacher and the principal to keep him in Seminole Public Schools for another year.
But there's no guarantee Taylor will be at Northwood after the sixth grade. When the time comes to make a decision about Taylor's long-term future, Griggs-Harjo is confident the right choices will be made, leading to her son and daughter graduating under the same roof.
“Jeff Pritchard, who is now the superintendent, was my teacher,” she said. “He's got to look me in the face and tell me he's not going to provide something for my child.”