Ryan Bent took a 3,000-mile journey last summer and spent more than $3,500, some of it from his own savings, to buy school supplies to help replace what was lost at Erik Ramstad Middle School.
"I went to Ramstad and I had three very good years there," explained Ryan, 15, who will receive a 2012 Yes I Can! Award from the Council for Exceptional Children on Friday for his efforts.
Ryan said his mother joined him in the cross-country trip, where they bought school supplies along the way. He tried to get special items for some teachers who had lost items. One of his frormer teachers had lost a teddy bear and a duck, so Ryan and his mom looked for replacements in Montana. They also visited some special sites along the way.
Just before school started in September, Ryan and his mom took all of the supplies to the Minot Municipal Auditorum where teachers were thrilled. Ryan recalled that they came out of their classrooms and some began requesting that he autograph notebooks and meter sticks.
Ryan will receive the award at the Yes I Can! Award Ceremony Friday at the Hyatt Regency Convention Center in Denver.
The organization honors 21 students with disabilities who have excelled. Awards are given in seven categories: academics, arts, athletics, school and community activities, self-advocacy, technology and transition. Ryan is a recipient in the school and community activities category.
Ryan has a hearing loss, but doesn't need to use sign language to communicate. He has learned sign language and was able to use it to help interpret for another hearing impaired student in social setttings and help that student feel more included at school.
Ryan received a Minot Youth Character Award in 2011.
"What makes me the happiest is to know at the end of every day I have done my best and worked hard to make the day successful for myself and others," said Ryan.
Ryan said it felt good to help people at Ramstad.