The 2019-2020 WMC Homecoming court took their places on the basketball court and waited for the announcement. This year there was a house favorite and everyone knew it.
“The 2020 Western Michigan Christian Homecoming King is Sawyer Arkema!” The gym roared with cheers and applause. It was a special tear-jerking moment for everyone gathered in Warrior gym.
Sawyer had one heck of a senior year!
- He was crowned Homecoming King
- He was awarded a brand-new 3-wheel bike from the Muskegon Ambucs during half time on Senior Night
- He scored several buckets in the WMC-hosted United Basketball game with his Special Olympics team in front of his home crowd in his home gym
- He made front page news in the local paper and was featured on local TV news
- He graduated from high school in June
Sawyer’s academic journey started at New Era Christian School when he entered kindergarten. Before long, he completed 8th grade and moved on to Western Michigan Christian for high school. Sawyer has a rich and full school life, complete with the support and love of a close-knit school community and peers who adore him.
At WMC, he is on what is called a “Certificate of Completion” track. He takes general education classes and works to complete goals instead of aiming for a certain grade. Fully included in senior-level classes, Sawyer takes general education classes alongside his peers with the help from Daniel Garland, WMC’s ESS Teacher. The main goals of these classes are to further develop social skills with peers, following directions, and staying on task. Sawyer has attended a specific class every year at WMC to work on functional, life, and academic skills. A key part of this ESS class is to take interest inventory assessments to determine and match him with occupations that he can both enjoy and demonstrate proficiency. Sawyer was matched with job placement at B2 Outlet, a retail store, and Lake Effect Kitchen, a catering company, where he works half-days two days a week. He loves his work!
Like most high school boys, Sawyer’s favorite part is being with his teammates. He attended practice with the varsity boys basketball team every Wednesday last fall/winter.
At home games, it became a tradition for each player to share a special handshake with Sawyer as they took the court. Always decked out in green and white, Sawyer is a big part of the heart of the team.
WMC hosts a United Basketball game each year where Sawyer’s Warrior teammates join forces with his Special Olympics pals scrimmage in front of Sawyer’s WMC student body. School let out early that day so everyone can attend the big game and cheer on their classmate.
“It’s the favorite basketball game of the year for all of us at WMC,” shares WMC teammate and sophomore Kellen Mitchell.
This love and support is the hallmark of the WMC warriors.
The crowd went wild when Sawyer scored. It was a sight to behold indeed. Not a dry eye in the house as Sawyer pumped his fists and bolted down the court fully enjoying his big moment. It was pure joy.
WATCH the annual Special Olympics United Basketball Game Fox17 news coverage.
READ the Grand Haven Tribune‘s coverage.
After graduation from WMC, Sawyer will start “college” at Muskegon Area Intermediate School District Transition Campus in the fall of 2020. This program provides him with training and hands-on experience in both life and job skills. They do a great job of placing their students in actual jobs and then coaching them through the process of learning to do those jobs independently. Sawyer is well-prepared to excel in this environment. He is ready for it!
“We are excited about the possibilities that this program offers Sawyer. He still very much wants to go to college like his big brother so we like to refer to this program as Muskegon College,” explains Sawyer’s mom, Betsy Arkema.
Sawyer is a beloved part of the Warrior family and the halls will not be the same without him. We look forward to his return visits and hearing of his future successes.
There will always be a spot open on the basketball bench for one of WMC’s all-time favorite Warriors — we love you, Sawyer!