GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Below is a portion of an email from a teacher, Meghan Lefevers:
"When Aubrey Bridges entered my class in the 8th grade I had no clue she would change my life for the better," Lefevers wrote. "I was her 8th grade teacher at WC Friday Junior High in Gaston County. Four years later we're still in touch."
18-year-old Aubrey is now about to graduate from North Gaston High.
She says Aubrey – and I confirmed this with Aubrey's mom – is autistic, has a rare disorder called "vein of Galen Malformation", suffers from a tic/seizure disorder, and deals with an auditory processing delay and speech apraxia. She communicates similar to an 18-month-old.
Short of a miracle, Aubrey will battle all of the above her whole life.
Despite the disorders impacting Aubrey in marked ways, Meghan says her former student's academic ability has flourished. She will graduate in June with a regular diploma, volunteers at her church, hangs out with friends, watches sporting events and likes to cook "good Southern food".
"Even though Aubrey can't verbalize most things, she can say 'I love you'," says Meghan. "She taught me about good attitude. She loves everyone no matter their life situation."
Back when Meghan was teaching Aubrey, she approached Aubrey's mom to ask if Aubrey could join the basketball team (Meghan was the coach).
"Everyone, including her mom, thought I was crazy," Meghan said. "But Aubrey practiced hard. She learned to shoot a layup. I saw self-absorbed young girls turn into loving, caring young women. She made everyone involved in the team that year a better person."
Meghan said she felt compelled to lift up this 18-year-old she deserves a little attention.
I totally get that.
"We all have different abilities," Meghan said. "Success does not always look the same to every person."