AVON, Ohio -- We know that experiences shape and change our children, but rarely is that captured in a way like this. This is a different kind of love story: it's about second-graders and a lesson that may last a lifetime.
Noah Dudas is a second-grader at Avon East Elementary, who has autism.
His parents, Lauren and Dan, had sent him to a specialized school, trying to do what's best for their son but the environment didn't suit him. Noah wound up getting expelled.
"And he felt broken, and we felt broken. And it was almost as as soon as he ended up in Avon schools, it was a game-changer. Life changing for him," his parents told FOX 8.
A big part of that change at this school is due to Michelle Szczepanski, Noah's teacher.
They share an extraordinary bond, which Szczepanski seems to have with each of her students.
Szczepanski teaches compassion, acceptance and love.
Szczepanski has what's known as a "shout-out" bucket. The second-graders can write compliments to each other that she then reads aloud to the class.
One day, Noah's classmate Declan Walsh decided to give a shout-out to Noah that read: "for teaching me that being different never matters."
And, knowing that people care, even just through a shout-out, can make all the difference.
"And Noah said all afternoon, 'Mrs. Szczepanski, I'm going to go home, and I'm going to tell the kids thank you. But it's a surprise, and you can't tell anybody! But I'm going to email you what I do, and you'll promise you'll show them?' And I said, yes, yes," Szczepanski told FOX 8.
Noah's thank you was his celebration video, thanking classmates for shout-outs, especially Declan.
Noah's thank you was absolutely touching. You can watch it in the video above.