December 15, 2018
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A Vision Come True

Local high school student raises money — and the bar — for senior service project
Megan Wade stands with Gordon Mote, center, an award-winning piano/keyboard player, and Hayden Hershberger.

It took months of planning and lots of hard work. Yet in the end, Megan Wade raised more than $4,000 for the Special Olympics by bringing an award-winning blind country and gospel pianist to North High School.

Gordon Mote is a two-time Academy of Country Music Awards Piano/Keyboard Player of the Year who performed at Wade’s Special Olympics charity concert on Jan. 19. The concert was part of a senior project, but Wade worked many more hours than the required 20 to make her project a success. She says she couldn’t have done that without Mote’s support.

“He was probably the best (artist) I could have picked,” Wade says. “The barrier between special needs children (and the rest of us) — he just breached it.”

Long an advocate of special needs children, Wade says she came up with the idea to have a Special Olympics charity concert about two years ago. Mote, who has been blind from birth, was a natural choice. Wade met him at one of his concerts and he immediately agreed to participate.

It took a lot of time and effort to plan and organize the event. Wade had to book a space, secure sponsors, and organize volunteers. Everything was her responsibility. Even when Mote arrived, his crew turned to her for answers. With Mote’s manager, she put together a set list for the concert, planning down to the last detail. Floating from task to task, she worked the backstage, watched from the catwalks, and even sang with the volunteer choir onstage to make sure it was a success.

The concert was almost entirely student-run and raised more than $8,000 — $4,054 after expenses. This money was split between a Special Olympian swim team in Warrick County and the Special Olympics organization in Vanderburgh County, allowing the Warrick team the opportunity to attend a state competition in Terre Haute, Ind.

Wade says she was humbled by the positive reception to the event.

“I got to put my name on it, but it should be everybody’s,” she says. “Gordon knew it wasn’t about him. It was about … giving (special needs children) the opportunity to show (the audience) how awesome they are.”

Since the concert, Wade and Mote have kept in touch. They are loosely planning another concert in the near future.

For more information on Wade’s project, visit somote.weebly.com.

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