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Gretna Media

The Student News Site of Gretna High School

Gretna Media

The Student News Site of Gretna High School

Gretna Media

Cade and Charlie

Sophomore Student Breaks Through Barriers
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Amanda Bryson
Cade Bryson (10) lifts a plaque at a Gretna baseball game.

When sophomore Cade Bryson walks through the GHS halls, with Charlie panting behind him, his name echoes from students of all grades. He does not go by unrecognized, and it is evident when he receives fistbumps and high fives from his endless number of friends.

When Cade was three years old, he had his first seizure. Around the same time, he was diagnosed with autism and epilepsy, and, at six years old, he had a surgery that removed the part of his frontal lobe that was causing his seizures. However, he has not let these roadblocks stop him in or out of the classroom.

“He is a great kid, and there are definitely challenges for him, but I think he has a really bright future,” said Cade’s mom, Amanda Bryson. “A lot of it is due to the people who have impacted him over the past couple years, so I feel like Gretna High has been an incredible place for him.”

Cade is a familiar name throughout the high school, in every area and grade. He is widely known by his service dog Charlie, who he has had for six years. Charlie acts as a social bridge for Cade, as well as a source of sensory support in cases where he may get overstimulated.

This is Charlie Bryson. He helps Cade Bryson during his school day. (Annabelle Rolf)

“As [kids with autism] grow older, it’s kind of awkward to have a kid walking around in a weighted vest, so Charlie provides sensory support prior to classes,” Amanda said. “So, if Cade is going to a class that is overstimulating, like PE class, Mrs. Hammers and Mr. Orton will have Charlie do what we call ‘lay on’ in class before Cade goes to that overstimulating environment to kind of calm his nervous system.”

Cade is also well-known for his involvement in athletics. He participates in unified track, unified and regular basketball and unified bowling. Because of his involvement, he has made countless friendships with athletes from sports like football and basketball.

“I’ve actually got a lot of friends, like Alex Wilcoxon, Michael Scheef, Alex Runge, Brody Bernal, Addison Dauel, Connor Kudlacek, Luca Dickerson,” Cade said. “I’ve got Ben Millian and Calvin Jansen.”

Because of his epilepsy, specifically, Cade can not participate in contact sports like football or lacrosse. Instead, he acts as a manager and still works closely with the players.

“He can’t participate in sports the way that most typical kids can, especially with the epilepsy component,” Amanda said. “He’s very limited, just because of the damage that’s already been done to his brain. He would never be able to put on a football helmet or a lacrosse helmet and participate in a contact sport.”

For people with disabilities, like autism or epilepsy, it can be hard for them to advocate for themselves or be as social as other students. However, Cade has been able to do these things.

“Cade’s grown a ton since I’ve known him, especially this year. I’ve seen a lot of maturation in him,” said Special Education teacher Christine Hammers. “He definitely advocates for himself. If he wants to participate in something, he makes it known that he wants to do that, and he looks for opportunities to get involved in so many ways.”

Cade is known to make a lasting impression on everyone he meets. Both the students and faculty who are lucky enough to meet him use several adjectives to describe his unforgettable personality.

“He is very outgoing, and he’s kind and thoughtful,” Amanda said. “He definitely has empathy for others and wants to be helpful and do well. He’s just a really great kid. He’s awesome to be around and, you know, we have struggles with him but all of the good things about him outweigh the struggles.”

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About the Contributor
Mary Jane Kushiner, Reporter
Mary Jane Kushiner is a sophomore at GHS and this is her first year with Gretna Media. She serves as a reporter. She is interested in journalism because she loves writing and reporting. Her favorite thing to write are feature stories. Besides being in journalism she likes to read and spend time outdoors. 

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    Jim RoweMar 27, 2024 at 10:40 am

    We are so proud of Cade. But we are so thankful he had such outstanding parents. We have watched his journey because his mother is related to us. She has been through so much with all that he has been through she never stopped. She is a wonderful person. They have all been there for him and thank God they have been.

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