SAUK RAPIDS - With an enthusiastic attitude and contagious smile, there’s hardly anyone who doesn’t know 1st grader Austin Opsahl at Mississippi Heights Elementary.


"When he's working upstairs, almost every student, even the 4th and 5th graders are waving at him and saying hello," Jody Meyer, a paraprofessional at the school says.

Austin has down syndrome and is a student in the essential living skills program, but that hasn't slowed him down. One of his favorite parts of school is getting to see friends and play football.

"He knows all the moves in football," Jessica Black, Austin's case manager says with a smile.

Austin is known by his teachers and classmates for his enthusiasm and work ethic at school. Black says his smile lights up any room he's in.

"He's such a hard worker and never complains, he always does his work."

Austin loves seeing his friends and teachers at school and enjoys learning. One of his favorite classes is phy-ed, so he can spend time playing with his friends.

"He's just a joy and he's so great to be around just because he makes everyone happy," Meyer and Black say.

Austin's Mom Tracy Opsahl is proud of her son and says he's a lovable kid that gets along with everyone.

"He is someone that can always make people smile no matter the day. We are blessed more than I can tell you to have him in our lives."




Dan DeBaun, WJON
Dan DeBaun, WJON

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