ASHLAND, Va. - A walk through the halls at most high schools in Central Virginia might not yield many familiar faces or casual greetings.
But the vibe is different at Patrick Henry High School in Ashland.
"You can see it when you walk around the halls," senior Sydney Inge said. "Everyone says hi to each other. Everyone talks to each other."
You've likely heard the phrase that someone has never met a stranger.
That could apply to Noah Pearce.
Noah, a senior at Patrick Henry, has been one of the most popular kids in school since the first time he walked through its doors.
"We'd always sit and each lunch with him and have fun together." Inge recalled. "I mean, he's funny. He's a funny dude."
"Noah is just filled with brightness and happiness," Garrett Gordon, a Special Education teacher at Patrick Henry, added. "He just brightens your day, every day. He remembers the little things like my birthday and my family."
Noah has his obvious challenges. But that's what others see. What he sees is the acceptance and love that the students and staff show him on a daily basis, two things he might not receive were he in a different environment.
"We love everybody," Gordon explained. "We take them in all shapes and sizes. The love that's shown to Noah by the students is truly genuine."
And there might not have been a greater expression of that love than on the night of Homecoming.
At halftime of Patrick Henry's game came the announcement of the Homecoming King and Queen. Since the students voted for each honor, there wasn't much surprise when the king was announced.
"Once I saw his name on the ballot, I was pretty sure that was going to be it," Inge said. "Everybody loves him."
"I was very confident that he would have a great chance to win it," Gordon added. "I had a feeling that he would. I knew he had a great support staff around here."
The Homecoming Queen was much less sure about her own election as she was about Noah's honor. And while he may have trouble expressing his thoughts about the night through his own words, his smile and his friends all know exactly what it meant to him.
"He probably feels so special and that's going to be one of the things that's so important to him as he goes through school," Inge beamed. "I'm sure he's going to remember that forever and remember how special he felt that night."
"He'll remind me about it," Gordon predicted. "'Hey, remember when I was king?' It was great for him to win. It was a great example of what Patrick Henry High School is all about."
If you would like to nominate someone to be profiled, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.